Thursday, December 10, 2009

The MAM Christmas Letter 2009...

I have never sent out one of these letters before, but this year, it was definitely warranted with the year our family has been through...

Happy Holidays to Our Dear Friends & Family :

Wow! 2009 has been one heck of a year for the Martial Arts Mom Family – and that’s an understatement! We don’t have any expensive vacations or kids in prestigious colleges to brag to you about, but we have experienced some pretty huge blessings this year.

As most of you already know, Hubby and I split up in January, 2009. That lasted for 7 months, but 3 weeks before our divorce would have been final, we came to our senses and realized just how much we love each other and our family and reconciled. We celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on August 23, 2009. We feel very lucky and blessed to have each other and our family back together.

Then on October 13th (Ironically Sammy Hagar’s birthday), I (MAM) was in a major car accident and totaled my car. I hydroplaned, hit the concrete median head on, went airborne and landed flat on the passenger side. Again, I’m lucky and blessed to have climbed out of the car myself with only a bruised lung (OUCH!!!!) and sternum, as well as some bone bruises. Scariest thing I’ve ever been through in my life! Also ironically, we found a replacement car that looks EXACTLY like the one I totaled, down to the same olive green color!

We lost some dear friends and family this year, too. SS, who was like a second mother to me (Lisa). Hubby’s stepfather, LB. My 2nd cousin, AE, and my uncle, HE. They will all be missed very much.

Buddy started middle school this year and really likes it. He has some amazing teachers. We truly appreciate their devotion to teaching and their students. He is still into every sport in existence and especially loves hockey and baseball. He earned his yellow belt in Taekwondo with his group, the Rakkasans. He’s into Origami (folding paper) and stamp collecting these days as well.

Sissy is returning to Community College in January. She hopes to be an elementary school teacher someday. We are happy she has decided to further her education and are very proud of her and her decision. Some things never change—she still enjoys reading and baking cookies. She loves her big red Chevy truck (although we’ll never stop reminding her she comes from “Ford People”!). She and her boyfriend, Country Boy, enjoy the outdoors. I think their favorite color is camouflage!

Hubby is still with the tire company and MAM still with the largest health care organization in Missouri. Hubby plays pool on a Wednesday night league with his friend Jim. And at the time of this letter, he is top player in the league! I’m so proud of him! Jim’s girlfriend, Min Pin Mama, and I (MAM) serve as cheerleaders / good luck charms for the team. Hubby still does his elaborate plastic canvas creations – his way to unwind while watching tv in the winter. Since my martial arts have had to take a back seat lately due to health concerns, I have taken up cooking as my newest obsession. I love cast iron cookware and am trying new recipes all the time. (You should taste my version of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies…can’t even tell the difference from the real things!)

We did our usual Halloween Bash. Lots of friends always make it a blast. We block off the entire street and lots of family, friends and neighbors sit around the fire pit and put on a scary show for the kids...and the adults alike. We serve up MAM’s Award Winning chili free to anyone who dares...I mean CARES to try it! (Trust really is yummy!) Hubby plays the Grim Reaper and MAM is the resident makeup artist for the annual event. Her favorite canvas is our friend Bubba, who really gets into the act of scaring the wits out of anyone who gets within a few feet of him! Even Sissy, Country Boy and their friend got into the act!

Like I said, no fancy vacations, but we enjoy short camping trips at our place at our country lot, near St. Genevieve, Missouri. We bought a used pop-up camper from a friend last year and it makes camping very comfy and fun! We also have a 4 wheeler with a manual transmission that Hubby is teaching MAM to drive. All went well until her foot stuck on the clutch going up a hill. Talk about poppin’ a wheelie! That was a bit scary—I think I’ll let Hubby drive and stick to the automatic transmissions in his truck and my car for transportation, thank-you-very-much. Our next goal is buy a used pontoon boat to enjoy on the lake there.

So, there you have it – the MAM Family year – 2009 – in a nutshell. We had some pretty hard times, but all of them turned out for the better in the end and make it blatantly obvious how very lucky and blessed we really are. Here’s hoping our 2010…and yours…is a great one!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to One and All!
The Martial Arts Mom Family
Hubby, MAM, Sissy & Buddy

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Pool Party in December!

This past Saturday night, we had a "pool party" for our friend whose real name I'll use since the photo of his birthday cake has his name on it. (It's Jim btw)

Individually, all his friends acted like we were going to go meet him at one bar. To stall him so all the invited guests could be at the real location - another bar right down the street from the decoy bar.

I used to do cakes and burned out on it about 10 years ago or so. But I pulled out all the stops and decided since he and my husband are major pool players, made a pool table cake. (see photo) I also made a huge Happy Birthday sign for him on MS Publisher and blew it up to about 3' x 4' on the plotter at work. Both turned out great.

Jim was calling all of us, getting pretty ticked off that we all had excuses why we were late getting to the decoy bar. We were all laughing our asses off about it because we knew he'd be all forgiving once he walked in the real location and saw what we had pulled off.

And we were right, of course. The stunned look on his face when he walked in and we all yelled "Surprise!" was priceless! (And no, I didn't get a picture of that, darn it!)

There was good company, pool and darts (I'm a bull's eye girl, although I can't hit anything else on purpose even when I try!) There was also an awesome band, led by a not-so-small woman. She is my hero. She is living my dream - to play lead guitar and sing lead in a good band! I wish I could remember their name, but unfortunately, I didn't pay that close of attention and I apologize to them for that because they deserve to have their name remembered!

Nothing like a pool party in December!