Archive for the 'Family' Category

Christmas

In a way this post is a Commencement part 2. Because a lot of what occured over Christmas had to do, I think, with the commencement.

So the following week my sister’s family came down to spend Christmas with my mom, but on the way, my Uncle (one who also shouldn’t have known about the commencement) called her and told her about it. This left me with really quite an odd dilemma… I knew she would find out eventually, but I never really thought it would occur less than a week after the ceremony and just 3 days before Christmas!!! I at this point no longer even wanted to go to my mother’s house for dinner, and I certainly didn’t want to go for just “hanging out sake.” They convinced me to go for dinner, and luckily (or unluckily) they got a call from a neighbor saying their furnace went out and rushed back up directly after dinner. They were worried their pipes would freeze and burst which is a worthy concern! Because of this I didn’t have to sit around too long in the awkwardness.

For the record, when she was asking why she wasn’t invited, I didn’t really say it was because I didn’t like her or anything. I just said she didn’t do anything and I wasn’t really upset with her for anything. It is kind of implied obviously that I don’t like her in that but I didn’t actually SAY that.

While we did have dinner at my mom’s, our actual celebration is held off till New Years. The reason for this is largely because it is easier to get my daughter during this period for a longer time, but it has also made their Christmas’ easier to deal with as my sister can then go to their in-laws without concern for ours. So the following week, we drive up to her area for her to host Christmas this year. This turned out to be the real disaster…

On the Sunday, my mom calls and finds out if she has anything plan. Our thought was that we would likely eat at my sister’s that night and come back to the hotel with her family to swim. So my mom calls, and finds out that we should head over. We get there and spend 2 hours sitting around watching a Vikings game that no one cares about and then we eat. Afterwards, we go and begin to open presents (something we just assumed we would do the next day as we had about 14-16 hours to fill with new years!) By this time my daughter is tired, and cranky, and apparently sick as she puked later that night at the hotel. My daughter stops opening presents after opening half of hers before she gets bored and whiny and stops wanting to open presents. We quickly finish off the rest of the family’s presents, and pack up our stuff and head out. Only to find out that she wants us up, ready, and back at her house for breakfast by 9am in the morning!!! This is far too early as if we are lucky all of us will be up at 8am which would allow us just 1 hour to get everyone showered, and drive there just to eat a breakfast we would prefer to eat at the hotel at our leisure! So I quickly ask her if we can’t just eat the breakfast for lunch and then we would come at like 11am, a time much more reasonable for us to handle. She kindly lets us out of this and we actually return to the hotel angry that she has us all so harshly scheduled at her house that we can’t get a break and my daughter is crying because she thought we would go swimming that night, and then of course she pukes!

The next day starts out better, my mom takes my daughter to the pool early in the morning to get her some of her swimming in and we decide that because we missed swimming the day before, we should go that day, and we quickly realize that sledding needs to be left out as two huge physical activities and the swimming was far more important. So we get to my sister’s about an hour early, and tell her that we’d just rather not go sledding and we would prefer going swimming in the afternoon. My sister gets really pissed, slams her cooking around in the kitchen, refuses to talk for like an hour or two, and then forces her family to go sledding without us later in the day.

Luckily after that, the trip got a little better, we went swimming another time the following day, and my sister decided to go for a short time with her family. My daughter was extremely happy to have had the chance to swim and play with them so I’m happy we actually got that opportunity.

So yeah, the whole thing was an utter disaster, and I’m thinking likely in part due to the timing of the commencement thing. I don’t htink my sister would have gotten as huffy about the sledding thing had it not been for this issue. After all, she didn’t even particularly want to go sledding in the first place. I don’t know what is going to happen in future family events with get-togethers. As it stands I no longer wish to go up to their house. Maybe next year I will travel to see my brother with my daughter so that she has a chance to really visit with their family and maybe my sister will not be able to do such a trip and I can avoid a year. At the very least, I likely won’t see or hear from my sister for a few months, which I’m more than a little happy to know.

Commencement

After long thought, I decided to attend my graduation commencement a couple weeks ago. But when I made this decision, I decided that I would only do it under my terms. I wasn’t going to invite everyone just for the sake of doing so, and I wasn’t going to make a gigantic deal out of it. So I invited my mom, my brother, my aunt & uncle, and my best friend and her family, and left my sister out of the invitation rounds, choosing not to tell her at all that I was going to do it. I thought it would be better than saying to her, yeah I’m doing it but you can’t go because I don’t like you.

We also decided to do a small casual dinner with everyone afterwards at my favorite restaurant, but nothing major. My friend’s family decided not to go to this part so it was mostly my family and everyone told stories of their graduation, as one might expect to find at such a party. I decided since I was going ahead and doing it that I would go all out, so not only have a little dinner, but I also got graduation pictures taken, I went and got a nice outfit that could be used to graduate as well as pictures and interviews in the future. I ordered said pictures, and will order my walking pictures as well, both of which are very abnormal for me. And I went through all the crap to get a cap & gown and what not, I will likely be donating to my school at some point of my life, but I want to wait until I have more of an income before I do that.

The commencement itself was fine. My friend had a friend who was also graduating who invited me to sit next to her, which I did and was glad she invited me because otherwise I would have felt much more alone for the whole thing. I got to talking with some guy who was sitting next to me as well and had a fairly good time throughout. Scott Van Pelt was the special speaker. It was kind of odd, I didn’t feel he represented me at all as I don’t know who he is in particular, he had references to cartoons I’ve barely seen, and jokes targeted at a younger and different crowd. He definitely was not a speaker intended for me, but at the same time he did a fairly good job and had a couple good jokes to tell and interesting stories on how he got to become an ESPN anchor in the first place.

The whole ceremony itself went rather well, and I think it will turn out well in my life that I did choose to go to this, but for now I am a bit torn on whether it was all worth the time and money that it cost.

Camping

It has been a little while since I have post largely because I went camping last week with my daughter and haven’t had much time to do any posting.

We went to Governor Dodge which is about 45 minutes away from where we went. I had never been to Dodge before in my life, and I was amazed at this little park that really is quite close to the city. It is in a valley system with bluffs everywhere, a river goes through and there are a couple small dams that turn them into small lakes, a waterfall, a prairie land, a forest, and a bunch of campgrounds.

We stayed in this cool site where you actually park, walk about 50-60 feet to get to the campsite. It was a bit far for the car and it was a pain to get anything we needed like food. But overall, the sense of being out further away from other campsites was wonderful. We heard people talking and dogs from time to time but we really felt all alone for the most part. The site itself was also on top of a ledge on one side, and on another was a hill that went down. It felt like we were on top of a small mountain, which I think we kind of were.

Unfortunately, after a summer of dryness and scorching heat, the weather became wet and cold really quickly. The first afternoon we got there was beautiful but unfortunately we spent most the time setting up, though my daughter did get to swim in the lake a little. That night we got some pretty harsh thunderstorms, but the passed over quickly just in time for daytime. Unfortunately, the tent we were using had some leaks in it and we were constantly fighting getting dripped on and getting sleeping bags away from the walls.

The next day, it was cloudy and noticeably cooler. We did go swimming despite the coolness and actually had a pretty good time. We also went to the local Wal-mart to pick up odds and ends that we forgot and then returned to our campsite. The entire day we really didn’t have a good chance to get a campfire going. I’m not entirely sure why, the wood was purposely brought back to the car so it wasn’t wet, but it just wouldn’t start for some reason, so we went to bed a little early.

That night, it started raining more, it started a s a sprinkle and we thought nothing of it. But it kept on raining over the next complete day. We tried our best to keep ourselves entertained. We went to wal-mart again to pick up cards and marshmallows (our previous ones got melted in the car the previous day). Went into town for a nice brunch, and drove around the back areas of the park. We then came back to the campsite and played some cards in the tent but we eventually became really bored and sick of dealing with a leaking tent and decided to pack up some things and return home a day early.

This actually turned out to be a fairly good idea. Besides not having to deal with wetness and boredom. We did get some good sleep, and we got some stuff home which we were worried about getting home in a single car (we set up the tent site a day early and thus avoided having to bring it all in a single trip).

It also meant we had less to pack up the next day when we returned. It turned out to be a great and beautiful day. We got a campfire started quickly while we took down the rest of our tents and dried off various wet objects. Got some marshmallows roasted and s’mores made. Packed up the car and then went to the trail for the waterfall. it was a very cool waterfall, and it really was a highlight of the trip. (It is small but still pretty neat in its own way). After this, we got in our swimsuits and went swimming in the lake. Surprisingly, despite being nicer weather, we didn’t enjoy swimming this day. The lake was cold and dirty from the previous two days of rain and we didn’t want to be in the water. But we did rent a paddle boat, which while awfully noisy, was a fairly pleasant trip around the lake that I think my daughter enjoyed greatly.

The time since then has been spent doing smaller things with my daughter and trying to recoup from what was a long week with her. I still don’t think I’m totally recovered, but we are starting to get back up there. School is right around the corner again and I am not looking forward to it.

For Christmas

Well my Christmas is officially over… what did I get over all? And their grades!

My brother thus far has only given me snacks for Christmas, though I do not think that is all he intends to give. He called on X-mas day and told me he had more coming so I await the final grade on him…. Incomplete.

My sister gave me some weird flag thingy for tables or something and a DVD to manage photos from my camera plus 20 free pictures from Creative Memories (She is a consultant). My friend looked online and saw that the DVD is worth $40 which is way too much for it, though I doubt she paid for it. I wonder if she makes money if I get photos printed off past the 20 free ones since she is a consultant. I am dubious of the idea. If I need photos printed I can go to Target and I already have a bunch of software for photo management and don’t feel I need any of it. Grade: D, bumpin up from F on the free photos which I may use and the apparant cost of the DVD.

My mom gave me a 5-piece suitcase set which is what I asked for (well a suitcase is what I asked for, didn’t specify number). The baggage is really nice, they have a ton of compartments and a zipper that allows the main compartment to expand if you have a lot in it. Just excellent suit casses. I also got a new pair of winter gloves, which I really needed and think are good. She also gave me a badger sweatshirt which I will never wear because I don’t like sweatshirts or badgers, and a ton of smaller stuff. Grade A-, bump down for the sweatshirt.

My best friend gave me a Star Wars Transformer which I’ve been eyeing for quite some time, not major but it was fun. She also gave me a backpack with a water bladder for geocaching which I love and was very surprised to get! Grade: A

My Aunt & Uncle gave me a $50 gift card to best buy with a pack of candy. I am a big fan of gift cards, especially if you don’t know the person well which they don’t, so I think this was nice. $50 is a lot i think too. So I will give this gift a grade of B+.

My Best Friend’s family gave me a gift card for $30 at Best Buy as well as a Stardragons book. The book doesn’t look great and I probably won’t read it for quite some time but I give them credit for trying. Even though the gift card was much less I will match my Aunt’s grade of B+ for the added effort.

I think that was it. Overall not a great christmas, but not horrible. I was more than a little disappointed by my sister. In fact, I felt ripped off because I bought her husband a $100 GPS for his x-mas/birthday present and that alone cost more than what they as a unit got for me and that doesn’t even include the presents I got for her or her two kids. Next year I’m definitely going to get a family present cause I’m more than a little irked.