Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Things I'm Thankful For

I know Thanksgiving is SOOO last week but I never posted about being thankful. And boy am I thankful for so much.

1. Family, health, career and home. Those are the easy ones but of course I had to mention them.
2. My new cousin who was born this morning. He didn't want to leave his warm mommy (Nick's words, not mine) but he's finally here and everyone is healthy. Welcome little Quinn Patrick - I can't wait to meet you.
3. The Christmas lights in downtown Bloomington. They were lit this weekend and when it came time to pick a restaurant after the football game on Saturday, Seeger insisted we eat someplace that had a window that looked out at the lights.
4. Turkey because it's oh so easy to cook. I hosted Thanksgiving and prepared the turkey, mashed potatoes, eggs, green beans, rolls, and cranberries (sorta - they were from a can) and it was all a breeze because turkey is so darn easy. And it tastes good too.
5. My sewing machine. My machine has been through a lot and 12 years later she's still kicking. She's so dependable - I've never changed her oil or had to replace a part and yet she still runs like she did when I first got her. Sometimes the Polack will ask me if I want a nice new fancy machine but I don't really see the need for one. So until the price of a machine with a stitch regulator drops below a grand, I'm good with what I have.
6. The opportunity to teach this year. It turns out that I enjoy teaching (a bit of a surprise) and I enjoy my students and I'm looking forward to next semester. (And a little extra in the paycheck is nice, too.)
7. Black Friday - I scored great deals on two big gifts this year.
8. My iPhone. Oh, how I love my iPhone. (Even though I want an iPad really, really bad, I'm still happy with my iPhone.)
9. My new black boots that I bought a few weeks ago. I still get complimented on them so I should give a big shout out to Vera Wang and her Simply Vera collection.
10. You, my blog readers - all 112 of you. I know who some of you are but many I don't. Most of you come back again and again (some multiple times in one day!) and though you don't comment often, you are loyal. Thanks for your support.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top 10 Things That Are Happening in the Kubatski Household

This isn't the top 10 most EXCITING things happening in the Kubatski household but more of an update for you in top 10 format.

1. The Christmas tree is up and the house is decorated.
2. Seeger wore his winter coat for the first time today. Yes, it's that cold in Bloomington.
3. Now that Seeger is an orange belt, the boys are going to the advanced tae kwon do class.
4. Nicklas has a fully functioning iPhone. He's been downloading apps like crazy.
5. I have to work a whole five days in a row this week. (Compared to shortened 3 to 4 days per week for nearly all of November.)
6. Of all the food I cooked this weekend for Thanksgiving, we only have turkey left over.
7. I saw TWO movies recently - Breaking Dawn and the Muppet Movie. And I started reading the Gregor the Overlander series. It's written by Suzanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games) so I bought the series for Nicklas for his birthday. He isn't nearly as interested in them as I am.
8. I've tackled lots of present shopping but mostly for the immediate family. Now comes the hard part - present shopping for everyone else who is on my Christmas list.
9. I'm really looking forward to watching last night's Amazing Race on DVR with the family this evening. My students are giving presentations in class today so no class prep - woo hoo!
10. Next weekend is a free weekend (meaning we are staying home and not planning anything) and then we are traveling the next five out of six weekends.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Best and Worst

Nick's worst - the long weekend is over
Seeger's worst - it's getting to be really short days
Mike's worst - having a headache all day long
Natalie's worst - weekend is over
Nick's best - the Christmas tree is up
Seeger's best - getting Internet today
Mike's best - spent the whole day together as a family
Natalie's best - got a lot done today and this week

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Birthday celebration

We had a small birthday celebration for Nicklas yesterday. I woke up late so I didn't make him breakfast BUT I give him a donut so he was happy. He took some treats to school to share with his class and his tae kwon do class sang to him. Here's a short video of that. (I have a new iPhone so I can actually take video now!)

(Ignore yellow purse lady who walked right in front of me while I was taking the video.)

After TKD, Nicklas chose dinner at Casa Brava. Mimi and Papa joined us. Then we went home to have cake. Actually we had brownies per Nick's request.

(Excuse the photos of Nicklas without a shirt on. He was ready for bed and his pajamas consist of athletic shorts and that's about it.)

Because Nicklas received my old iPhone to use as his own, he didn't get a lot of big presents this year. He got some books, some decor for his room, hockey cards, a hat, and tickets to see Straight No Chaser.

Nicklas said he had a great birthday and he's pretty sure he'll get some presents from other family members. My 11-year-old!

As my mom pointed out, he's getting so big, soon he'll be taller than her!

Top 10 Things I Love About Today (And It's Only 1pm)

1. I got to sleep in until 7:15.

2. I watched Little House on the Prairie with Seeger.

3. I saw Nick's excitement in opening the hockey cards he received for his birthday.

4. My house is clean, clean, clean. I don't have to worry about housework for a few days.

5. We now have automatic garage door openers, just in time for the cold weather.

6. Seeger is spending the afternoon at a friend's house. He's so excited.

7. Even though I'm at work, no one else is so it's very quiet and I'm making good progress on a project.

8. I have four day weekend.

9. I don't have to cook dinner tonight.

10. I'm looking forward to spending the holiday's with my family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nicklas!

Nicklas turned 11 today. I can't believe I have an 11-year-old! He was so excited when he came home from the IU basketball game last night and saw his presents sitting on the counter. He also asked if I would set his alarm for 5:36am so he could wake up the moment he turned 11.

(Click here to read his birth story.)

It is such a joy to be a mom to Nicklas. I'm so proud of him and all he accomplishes. He used to be more tentitive to try new things and hesitant to get involved but I see that less and less from him. His general nervousness is being overcome by confidence which makes me happy. Confidence in adolescence is so important! As Nicklas grows and matures, he is more excited to try new things, new experiences, and sometimes, even new foods. He actually tried pad thai a few weeks ago - and he liked it! He also likes chili, meat pizza, tacos, and brownies. For his birthday dinner, he picked Casa Brava so we will be eating there this evening.

Nicklas continues to love sports. He watches ESPN SportsCenter every morning and the Polack always has to search the house for the sports section of the newspaper. He looks forward to college football on Saturday's and NFL on Sunday. He keeps his sports jersey's in a special section of his closet because they mean so much to him. He's doing well in tae kwon do and wants to continue with basketball and baseball. I'm encouraging him to also look at other activities and he recently started playing cello. I would also like to sign him up for theater/drama classes. I've been wanting to do that for some time - he loves acting and he has such an expressive face - and his music teacher recently reinforced this by also suggesting we look into signing him for Stages Bloomington. It would be a great experience for him.

In continuing with our tradition of having birthday parties every other year, this was a non party year for Nicklas. Instead he invited two friends to spend the night last Friday. I picked them up from school and we went to the store so they could pick out some snacks to eat for the evening. They spent most of the time playing Wii but also talking sports and wrestling. They were so loud and I LOVED every minute of hearing the boys talk and laugh and celebrate Wii game victories. Seeger and the Polack were gone most of the evening for Seeger's orange belt testing but when they got home, the boys were so good to Seeger. Before bed, they all watched Mystery Men together and in the morning, I made them chocolate chip pancakes. The entire time, I think I had a smile on my face because I really enjoyed seeing and hearing the boys play together and taking care of them while staying out of their way. I was able to play my favorite role - mom to Nicklas and Seeger. I'm so blessed to have so great kids. Even when they drive me crazy, I would never want to change our relationship.

I know that things will get tough as Nicklas (and Seeger) go through their teenage years. It's never easy for any kid or their parents. I hope I'll remember the be sensitive to his needs and respectful of his emotions. Regardless, I will remind myself that I've done the best I could with providing Nicklas all the tools needed to survive in this world we live. I always enjoy going back and reading previous birthday blog posts I've written about Nicklas. Hopefully, I'll continue to practice in years to come to remind myself how lucky I am.

Happy birthday, Nicklas. Thank you for always making me smile.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Random Thought Thursday

1. Lately Seeger has been telling us that he wants to go to Hawaii. We always agree with him on that. Last night he said he wanted to go to Hawaii. Or Illinois. He said that both are good places to go hiking.

2. The quilting weekend with the group went well. I didn't get a lot sewn but I had fun catching up with folks. I especially enjoyed playing Right, Left, Center with fabric. Best idea ever.

3. I've cleared the house of all the desserts that were left over from the weekend. I don't know if my co-workers were happy or sad when I brought a plate of treats in each day.

4. My mom went back to work on Tuesday after being off several weeks for her knee cap surgery. I haven't called her yet to see how she's doing so I feel really guilty. I know she'll read this so I want her to know that I've been thinking about her EVEN though I haven't called.

5. I'm ready to get my Christmas decorations out -- I'm really looking forward to the holiday season this year. The Polack has a strict no-decorations-or-music-until-after-Thanksgiving policy and I've always agreed with it. But for some reason, this year I want to break the rule.

6. I finished a meeting early yesterday and had some time before my class started so I went shopping for Nicklas (he's outgrown all his pants and I'm tired of the ankle waders) and ended up buying garage door openers. I was really worried about the Polack being upset about not including him in the garage door opener decision but he was cool with it. Now we just need to clean out our garage.

7. It really sucks not having curbside recycling. We try to be a good recycling family and we do pretty good but it's such an annoyance find the time to take our recycling to the disposal center. They make you separate EVERYTHING. I shouldn't complain because I've never actually had to go - the Polack always does it - but we both deal with the overflow of recycling that takes over our garage.

8. This morning when I let Freddie out to do his business, there was a strong smell of skunk at the front porch. I was afraid the culprit would come charging at me but luckily he didn't. I am definitely more fearful of critters now that I live out in the country.

9. I get to see the Nutcracker two times this year. Yay! This makes up for not seeing at all last year. One performance is in Indianapolis and the other is in Fort Wayne - back to back weekends. I also want to take the family to see the local production of Annie. One of Nick's classmates has the lead and I think it would be fun to support her.

10. I've offered to throw a double couple's bridal shower for my brother and cousin who are getting married within a month of each other. I'm excited but nervous about the situation. I'm worried that it will be hard to please everyone. At least I have several months to plan and I'm hoping my cousins will get involved with planning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 10 International Places I'd Like To Visit

This list includes places I've never been to before. They are in no particular order because it would be too difficult for me to prioritize them. (Heck, it's going to be hard enough to list only 10.)

1. Bali
2. Scandinavia (Including a stop at Kristiansand, Mia's home town and Malmo)
3. United Kingdom (London and Cardiff, Wales, where my cousin Molly lives)
4. Rome (And southern Italy, including Sicily)
5. New Zealand/Australia (Especially Perth)
6. Vancouver
7. Ireland
8. Brazil
9. Hong Kong
10. Bora Bora or Tahiti or Somoa or Fiji

Top 10 list

I've been thinking about a new meme for my blog, especially because I seem to be a bit burnt out on Random Thought Thursday. (No worries, I still do RTT but maybe not every Thursday. What, you say? I already don't do every Thursday?) I'm calling this one my top 10 list and it's inspired by Sarah at Overlap. Sarah makes a lot of top 10 lists. A LOT. And she spends a lot of time with her friends making top 10 lists. She's inspired me to make my own lists and I thought I'd share with all of you.

Top 10 Things I Loved About Yesterday

1. Hearing Nicklas talk about his progress in school during our parent/teacher/student conference.
2. Hearing Nicklas' teacher praise him and then empower him to continue to strive to improve and work hard.
3. One-on-one time with Nicklas and the Polack at Jiffy Treet to celebrate an awesome conference.
4. Having my students incorporate an in-class exercise during their group presentation.
5. Looking - and admiring - the quilt blocks I put together over the weekend.
6. Staying awake longer than the Polack. (I'm ALWAYS the one who falls asleep first.)
7. Sharing yummy desserts with my co-workers that were left over from the weekend.
8. Thanking my co-worker for the IU basketball tickets she gave me on Sunday. I was so appreciative and she was so happy they were used.
9. Eating a chicken salad sandwich (or two) for lunch while watching America's Next Top Model.
10. Visiting with a former student who stopped by while she was visiting Btown. She spent the last four months in Sitka, Alaska and told me all about her great (and not so great) experiences.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hoosier Basketball

Even though the team is young and the Big 10 season will be tough for them, I'm still excited about the IU Basketball this season. A co-worker gave me two tickets to the game last night so I took Nicklas and we had a great time. I was excited to see Cody Zeller play and the game was especially fun because my man, Victor Oladipo, had career high scoring and a few of his awesome slam dunks.

When we got there, we realized that Nick's friend, Nik was sitting a few seats away with his mom who I've gotten to know this year. What a pleasant surprise!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

1. I only have about 10 minutes before I need to leave to pick up Nicklas and Seeger from tae kwon do so we'll see how many thoughts I can write down in my limited time.

2. Seeger finally lost his tooth!!!! He's one happy boy. I know tooth sharing photos are gross but I wanted everyone to see how much his adult tooth has grown in before his baby tooth came out. Unbelievable.

3. This weekend I'm hosting a group of quilting friends for a Bloomington quilt camp. I'll have a full house and I haven't done anything to prepare for it so I decided to take the day off tomorrow so I can change sheets, make beds, and grocery shop. We'll see if I can fit in actual house cleaning. (Well, I definitely do the toilets but other than that, I'm not so sure.) It will be fun to see everyone.

4. I'm enjoying my teaching experience this semester but the late nights two times per week are getting to me. I'm so thankful this is an eight week course. I didn't get home until 10pm last night. Freddy was the only one who greeted me at the door because all the boys were asleep.

5. So apparently now when you're a student and you want to add a class, you just fill out an e-doc and the request goes to the course instructor. Every other day it seems like I have students adding my class. After we started the third week of the eight week class, I finally stopped approving the requests.

6. I ordered a new iPhone. I'm looking forward to a phone with more memory since I have to continuously delete pictures because my phone is full. That's pretty annoying.

7. Since I'm getting a new phone, Nicklas gets my old one. He's super excited to have an actual iPhone and I'm sure he'll feel like the cool kid for a while.

8. Just two more minutes and I need to come up with three more random thoughts. Yikes, some over perfumed person just walked in my office and now I'm trying not to gag. Blech, I taste perfume in my mouth.

9. The Polack and I are going to see my new favorite band, Fitz and the Tantrums, who are playing at the Bluebird in a few weeks. I can't wait!

10. Speaking of, I might as well direct you a link of them playing. Here's a clip of their recent performance of Don't Gotta Work It Out on Jay Leno. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The 9/11 Memorial

I was in NYC last week for week and I decided to check out the 9/11 Memorial. Reservations were required but entry was free. Two square pool/fountains sit atop the location of the former two towers. The fountains were much bigger than I expected.

They are lined with the names of those that lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks.

The Memorial is surrounded by construction as new buildings are erected in the area.

This was in the visitor center. My brother-in-law is a firefighter so it really touched me.

A visit to the Memorial is a must-see for anyone visiting NYC.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seeger's Tooth

Seeger is the only one in his class that hasn't lost a tooth yet. We
were excited when he realized one was loose - until we saw what's
behind it. I'm hoping it comes out soon so that we don't have to get
it pulled.