Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Tradition

I never got around to getting the annual Christmas letter together this year.  So, I've decided that an Annual New Year's Letter is a much better idea!  So much less stress... so here it is....

Happy New Year 2013!

                        Welcome to the 1st annual Hyzy New Year letter!  Totally better idea, after all who needs another Christmas letter, less stress for me and the postman has something to do after Christmas.  Totally planned – Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
            Brenna is a sophomore at Radford and totally kicking it’s ass.  She successfully completed her first year at college, voted for the first time and moved into an apartment.  She is the treasurer of The Wildlife Society,  does bat trapping and research with her wildlife biology professor, participated in mussel rescue and local river cleanup.  Last spring she went to the Virgin Islands on a biology trip and this spring she’s heading to the Galapagos!  I’m pretty sure she will be running Radford by the end of the year.  Who knew that when we started calling her the Wonder Child it really would turn out to be true!
            Zack is a freshman in high school and totally kicking it’s ass.  He is in the engineering program at school and loving it.  Much to everyone’s delight, he has decided to row.  I’m not sure he’s ever worked so hard or enjoyed something so much. We now own stock in Advil.  I’m still having trouble adjusting to the fact that my baby boy is in high school.  He spends all his time in his room, eats nothing but waffles and Fruit Loops and sleeps late into the afternoon.  Unbelievably, when we do get to see him he is pleasant and funny.  We have yet to see the horrible hormone storms that generally rage at this stage.
            John is kicking ass at work.  He recently changed jobs.  He left Booz Allen Hamilton and is now working for Spectrum Healthcare.  He’s running two Army satellite health clinics like they’ve never been run before.  He is the Golden Boy, the Fixer of all Things – the Man with the Plan!  He’s happily planning a summer trip to Alaska with both the kids, and somehow talked Brenna into hunting with him twice this year!  He really is a miracle worker!
            I’m not kicking ass, more like getting my ass kicked, especially by all my volunteer obligations,  but I am quietly and secretly planning my exit strategy.  The biggest change for me is I’ve started running.  I hesitate to call myself a runner since that would imply that #1 – I like running and #2 – that I’m good at it, neither of which seem to be the case, but at least I’m out there slugging along.  First 5K in a week and then 2013 goal – one 5K a month!
            It’s been a kick ass 2012.  We are very lucky and very blessed in all that we have - family, friends, safety and security!  Hope 2013 finds you and your family healthy, happy and enjoying each other.  If you are ever in the DC area, our door is always open!
 John, Julie, Brenna, Zack

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wintergreen Vacation

     This year we decided not to head to Buffalo for New Years.  I know it sounds terrible, but I was so relieved.  We miss seeing all the relatives, but they drive up is a nightmare, we never sleep well when we're up there and we're so exhausted when we get back that we need a vacation from the vacation.  So, much as we missed getting so see everyone, it was such a relief to know we were just going to hang out.  John wanted to do something with the kids, so we decided to drive up to Wintergreen Resort for a couple days and try out some skiing.  We took the kids there about 10 years ago, Zack doesn't even remember it.  Unfortunately, our weather has been beautiful this Dec, which is great for me when I'm walking and running, but not great if you want snow for skiing.  It was touch and go, but they started making snow on Christmas, so we went ahead and headed up.   It wasn't great skiing, sort of icy - but despite the less than ideal conditions the kids picked it right up.  Brenna was a little nervous at first, but she caught on immediately.  Zack took a little longer to get it.  I think partially because he's so long and lanky that it was hard to get himself all coordinated, not to mention the fact that he hardly weighs enough to put any pressure on his skis!  But he figured it out and after two runs down the hill, he had his confidence and he was like a freaking speed demon.  None of us could keep up with him!  I give him a lot of credit, I was afraid at first he'd pull a Julie Hall and give up and quit, but he stayed with it and then there was no looking back.
   I was pretty proud of myself as well.  I got right back on those skis and didnt' have any trouble.   My only issue is that I don't like to go fast... AT. ALL!  Slow and steady wins the race, or in my case, doesn't fall down and break anything.  The first day was great.  There was hardly anyone there and we pretty much had the whole hill to ourselves and those people that were there, were beginners like us, so there was no pressure and it was pretty relaxed.  The 2nd day was a little crazier,  quite a few more people and much better skiers.  I found it a little disconcerting to have all these snowboarders schussing past me at all speeds.  I also am never a huge fan of the chair lift.  The most challenging part of skiing is getting off the ski lift without crashing or taking anyone else out.  I considered it a very successful ski vacation because they never had to stop the chair lift for me!!  I was also pretty pleased because I wasn't sore at all after either day.  I consider that an indication that I'm in decent shape.  I sure felt like the old buttocks were getting a work out, but I wasn't sore at all.  Yeah for me.  We had a beautiful little condo.  The great thing about a ski vacation is that you get so much exercise that the kids were actually in bed at 730pm and John and I were asleep by 830pm!  No need to worry about anyone getting bored or getting into fist fights! We were too tired!

   It was a great couple of days.  I think the kids enjoyed and I know I did.  I like skiing, I think if given my choice I'd rather live somewhere near skiing than near a beach.  Good exercise, you don't get sweaty, fireplaces, soups, cozy clothes...yeah I like skiing.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twas Four Days after Christmas..

and all through the house, Christmas is over but it was a great day!  We had a wonderful Christmas, pretty standard Hyzy Christmas.  We are such creatures of habit and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but we like our Christmas the way we like our Christmas!  I think in the 24 years we've been together, we've only spent one Christmas away from home.
  Those silly kids sleep until 11am every freaking morning, but on Christmas morning they were up and waiting at our door at 7am.  We all trooped down and while the kids looked at their stockings we made tea and coffee and got ready for the grand openings.

Stocking loot
Tardis phone case

Even the puppies got stockings

   Once we were done with stockings, we took our traditional break.  I made fabulous Christmas pizza and cinnamon rolls, we bulked up - increased our stamina so we could tackle the presents under the tree!

a Everyone loved their gifts.  Kids got sweaters, Xbox games, money and gift cards.  I got lots of great stuff.  Bath stuff, Gortex jacket, electronic piggy bank.  John got a dart board, darts, the perfect pushup workout stuff, tools.  I think everyone was very happy.
Once we were all done with the unwrapping, I took the dogs for a nice walk.  When I got home quite a surprise awaited me.  Apparently Brenna and Zack got into an argument which ended up in a fist fight with a bloody scratch on his face and 3 of his braces brackets off his back teeth.  What the HELL!  Really??  Apparently, they each took pleasure in driving each other insane until Brenna finally snapped and smacked the shit out of Zack!  Are you kidding me?  Just when you think you have things covered and it's smooth sailing, they throw another kink in the parenting plan.  They seem to have recovered and are friends again.  Silly kids.

Then we had a Mt. Burnside Christmas Feast with all the neighbors.  I just love our cul-de-sac.  Everyone brought food and as usual we had way too much.  But it was delicious and fun and we all rolled home like pigs afterwards. It was a wonderful Christmas (not counting the fist fight) and reminded me how lucky we are and how much we have to be thankful for!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the night before Christmas...

       Christmas Eve has finally arrived.  This is both the slowest and fastest day of all.  I spent the day cooking for tomorrow's Mt. Burnside Christmas Feast so that I won't have to do anything tomorrow except warm up!  I made Bacon-wrapped Asparagus, Twice Baked Potatoes, Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip and Rolo Pretzel Bites!  It's gonna be awesome.  Other than that it was a quiet day, Zack kept asking for Dramamine so he could sleep the day away and wake up tomorrow!  We playes a wild a weird game of Catan and then did the traditional unwrapping of the gifts from Santa's Elves.  Always new Christmas Pj's so that they'll look cute in pictures.  I thought this was such a brilliant tradition when I thought it up, only to discover that pretty much everyone on the planet opens new Christmas Pj's on Christmas Eve.  I thought I was so original only to discover that I was mistaken, and everyone in the world thought is was a great idea as well.  Sort of like the time when I was 3 and I got a beautiful new doll for my birthday or Christmas and I named her Matilda.  I was so excited because I thought I'd created the name.  Imagined it all by myself, it was my own unique creation - I was so proud of myself.  Until about a week later I heard my Dad singing Waltzing Matlida on his guitar!  Devastation....


Anyway, Pj's are opened, pictures are taken and now Santa is waiting patiently for the "little ones" to go to sleep. I tell you it gets harder and harder each year for Santa to out wait the peewees!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It always comes full circle

I remember when Zack was really little, he loved and worshipped his big sister so much.  And as will all siblings, especially ones that have a large age gap like ours, most of the time Brenna was just bothered by her brother.  He was the little pain that always followed her around, always wanted to be wherever she was, always wanted to do whatever she and her friends were doing and was never happier than when she would deign to play with him.  He just loved her so much.  We use to tell her all the time "be nice to your brother, he loves you so much and one day you are going to want him to play with you and he's not going to."  But, again as with most parent/child interaction, she never listened to us.  He was just a silly bother to be tolerated.

I noticed over this past summer,  that just like all teenage boys, Zack had begun spending most of his time in his room.  Interacting with us only when he was forced to.  Preferring the company of his computer and his Ipad to his family or his sister.  And it began to bother Brenna, she would complain to us that Zack ignored her when she talked to him, or he wouldn't go running with her when she asked him.  I tried to explain that he was growing up and pulling away - as he should.  Well, as Brenna's winter break began to draw closer, I found myself having a very familiar conversation with Zack.  "Now you know Brenna will be home soon.  I want you to be nice to her.  She just loves you so much and I don't want you to ignore her and be mean to her."  He just laughed and rolled his eyes, but I knew that he appreciated being the one in control this time.  He has been nicer and I find it a little bit freaky that they get along so well.  They go shopping together, they go to wing night together - it makes me think that we did do something right along the way.  How lucky they are to have each other and how lucky we are to be their parents!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End is Not Here, but my laundry and empty refrigerator still are.

We're still here.  The end of the world did not arrive as predicted by the Mayans.  Apparently, the makers of Oreos, know about more than just yummy chocolaty goodness.  I spent yesterday napping and NOT grocery shopping or doing any laundry - since why bother if we weren't going to be around today.  But, then today arrived and my slacking off came back to bite me on the ass when I had to spend the afternoon at the Commissary with every other procrastinator, retired person and cranky pants in the area.  Serves me right I guess.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

25 minutes can kiss my a.....

     Today Brenna and I ran together!  It was fun and inspiring, cause obviously I don't want to look like a total dweeb in front of my girl.  5K trainer goal was 25 minute run and guess what....we DID IT!  I did have to walk briefly at the 15minute mark, but only for 30 secs.  Then we felt pretty smug so we did a 2 minute cool down walk and ran for an additional 5 minutes.  Take that 5K trainer, you can't beat me!!  I  am currently registered for 3 5K's right now... the Frozen 5K in Jan,  The Color Run in Sept and The Zombie Run in Oct, with more to come.   I found a couples run in Feb that I'm going to make John run with me...  I'm really excited about The Color Run... it's in Richmond and I have 17 people registered to run with me!  We got a big 'ole Color Team going down to run!  Yeah! Yippee!  I hesitate to say I'm enjoying this, but I do love the feeling when I'm done running.  No runner's high during the run, that's still a struggle and I don't love it.  But I do feel really happy and smug when I'm done running and I know I did it.  I guess that's something.  Maybe the rest will come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Words aren't enough

It's taken a few days for me to process the horror that happened on Dec 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  The heartbreaking sadness for the families who lost children and loved ones when one obviously mentally ill man chose to alleviate his pain by causing so much pain to others.  My heart also goes out to his family, we can never know the pain, fear or despair they went through while trying to parent and help this young man.  It's just all so incomprehensible to me, and everyday I think about what I would do if faced with that situation and that just leads no where.  The one thought I just can't get out of my mind, is all those parents who probably have all the Christmas gifts wrapped and ready to go for Christmas and now they've lost everything.  What do you do, how do you keep going?  I know it just makes me try and appreciate all that I have and how lucky I am and to make sure that they know how much I love them EVERYDAY!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Our record is unbroken, yet another successful, painless tree hunting trip.  I love our little local run nursery.  They always have beautiful trees, are 5 mins from our house, have snacks and a free poinsettia when you get a tree.  What's not to love.  To top it all off this year, it was about 55 degrees, so we weren't even cold.  We all decided that this year was going to be the BAT year.  BigAssTree year.  Usually we tend toward the tall and skinny tree...not this year we were going for FAT!  After much deliberation and running back and forth, Zack actually found the winner this year... and it is a beaut!

  Then we brought it home and the decorating began.  John and Zack brought it in and secured it,  Brenna did lights, the kids and I decorated and Mimi and I did the beading.  It was a team effort and there was almost no bickering.  I few quibblies over who got to hang certain ornaments, but fortunately they were able to resolve their issues on their own.

 Best BigAssTree ever!

Once the tree was taken care of and admired, then the decorating of the tree skirt began.  Since we decided last year to switch from hands and feet to thumbprint characters, this year it was thumbprint snowmen.  The funniest part about it - was the difference in decorating method between boys and girls. Brenna, Mimi and I practiced our snowmen on construction paper for probably 20 minutes before we went in for the real thing.  I think Zack did one practice snowman and John just looked at all the practice ones and went straight for the real thing.  Even funnier... they all just look fine.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

When is it okay to say you're a runner? Do I dare?

I did it!  I survived my first official 5K race!  My friend Jennie Tatum, at the last minute, talked me into running with her, well not "with" her, that's too much pressure, but running in the same race with her.  I wasn't really ready, I haven't finished my 5KTrainer Program, but as we all know, I cave into peer pressure every time!  So, I pulled up my running pants, signed up and off we went.  And I did it!  I had to walk 3-4 times, but never longer than 30sec. I thought it was a tad tough, lots of hills.  My time was 33.58!  I don't know if that's good or bad,  actually... it's good, anything short of finishing DFL (dead fucking last) is good.  It's a PR (personal record) for me, since I haven't run before... anything would be a PR, but I'll take it.  I love my friend Jennie, she, obviously, finished ahead of me and then came back to find me and cheer me on.  Although when she told me I was almost at the finish and I needed to sprint, I wanted to smack her! :O)  I'm very happy I did it, I'm thrilled that I'm done and now the "scary unknown" part is over and I can proceed with my 5K resolution.  Next up... Frozen 5K - Jan 6th!

Friday, December 7, 2012

To Resolve or not to Resolve

       I don't usually make resolutions.  I quit making resolutions years ago.  I don't really believe in them, if you are going to make a change, just make the change - any day is a good day to start.  No reason to wait until New Year's, but I've got a good one for this year.  I was successful with my no soda, no artificial sweetener, no caffeine resolution so let's go big again this year!  Since I'm running now... you know I'm practically a runner.... I think my resolution will be to try and run one 5K every month!  That way when it comes time to run from those Zombies in Oct - I will be fit and ready to go!  1 5K every month, that's what I'm thinking right now.  I'm going to mull it over for a while and see what I think.  I've already registered for one in Jan, one in Oct - that's 2 out of 12.  It's a good start.  There is also a really fun run in Oct called The Color Run, where they spray you with paint every kilometer.   I'm going to challenge all my friends and see how many will run with me. 5K all the way!