Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Not Easy....Being a van Veen

      As you probably know, becoming a van Veen is a prestigious honor. Not every can claim to be one, and those that do have proved themselves worthy of the name. I changed my last name when I married, not realizing how long the name "Christiansen" actually is. Spell it out loud. Now, re-spell it, placing emphasis on the i-a and e. Now, write it out. Again. Add your first name this time. After 7 years of writing it, spelling it, and respelling it, I've decided to have a bit of fun with it. Sometimes (after spelling it out) I'll say, "and there's an invisible 'z' and 'q' on the end". Most people get stuck at this point, having taken their sense of humor out to lunch.
      Now that I've brought this up, you're probably wondering about the hassle of spelling and writing your own last name. These two reasons are why I've been thinking about changing my last name back to van Veen. Sure, it's a bit harder to pronounce, but less letters = less hassle.
      Recently, it was brought to my attention that changing my last name should be for the right reasons, not a matter of laziness. This includes making sure that my last name *fits*. Hubby so graciously brought this up when he decided that he too wanted to be included into the van Veen family. The day he took my Mom back to the airport after her awesome trip out here, they stopped for breakfast....where he dumped most of his chocolate milk all over my Mom. It was then that he was granted honorary van Veen status. However, this honor was not entirely thought through....
      I continue to inadvertently maintain my van Veen status on a day to day basis. Little things like spilling tomato soup all over the stove top whenever I cook it, forgetting to open screen doors before I walk through, or shaking my protein drink all over my friend's living room ensure my standing. However, hubby's honorary status was revoked the other day when we discovered that he is incapable of quickly wolfing down large amounts of ice cream in one sitting. This is a van Veen trait that is crucial to maintain. The children and I fought over sharing his frozen remnants. (One easy way to tell if someone is a van Veen is by looking at the ice cream sitting next to them. What ice cream? Exactly....)
      Since hubby inadvertently terminated his van Veen status, he tried super-hard to regain it by spilling his deodorant all over the carpet. For his unprecedented efforts, I reinstated his van Veen honor...for now.... pretty happy hubby! ;)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Starting A New Family Tradition

    If you've been tuning in the past few weeks, you'll remember that my Mom & Sis came out to visit us.   As usual (you know you didn't bring enough stuff if you didn't accidentally leave some of it behind) we found some things (not to mention the candy bark we forgot to break up & bag in the fridge) and have started a collection box to be shipped as soon as we're done finding things, lol.
    During this process, I had told my mom I'd complete the crochet granny square she left here. I've never done a granny square before, so I asked her for the basic pattern. While I was crocheting this, an idea came to mind (you all know how dangerous that can be!). I really wanted to finish the square and give it back to my Mom, but my mind has other plans for it.
     As with all great family traditions, you start something, and then see how it goes. If everyone seems to enjoy it, then it gets repeated (and more things added/tweaked) until it becomes a family staple. A family tradition.
                                                         The white is mostly the original square

       My goal for this granny square is to make it a "never-ending" granny square. The thought process is this: over the years, it will get passed back & forth between the family- whomever taking turns to crochet a little here, a stitch there....using any color skein or scrap available. Soon, it may turn into "the-never-ending-granny-blanket" but that is a risk I am willing to pursue. Chains, stitches and rows can be added however the crocheter desires, in hopes of adding the family's creativity and love to this piece. I've just learned a new stitch called the "I-cord" which I've added in lei of several chains. This piece is intended to be a silly family heirloom, but I know that as it gets passed around and crocheted on, we will remember each other, admire each other's stitches and creativity and reflect on the love we share.

                                                 The "Never-Ending-Granny-Square"


                                                            an "ICord" (it's like a 3D chain)
                              You're welcome, Mom ;) And good luck!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Years Day 5K

     I know you've all been eagerly awaiting information about the New Years Day 5K I took part in. It was phenomenal and my Mom got to see me race for the first time! (yes, I was a late running bloomer).
     Apparently, it's always super cold (and sometimes icy) on New Years in Salida, CO. This stopped few people. I estimate between 30-55 showed up for this walk/run. Though I intended to run the whole time, more runners than I expected show up! The winner did it in less than 20 minutes (3.2 miles in under 20 minutes? yeah right! I estimated my time as 40 minutes, but came in @ 36min 19 sec). It was fun-I ran into one of Josiah's speech therapists, so we paced each other (hence my earier time, lol). Sure, there were opportunities to slip and fall on the packed snow & ice, but we made it through without a single mishap (I did lick the stop sign pole at the top of the hill. I had to-I was dared).
     This was my first NYD5K, and they encouraged costume participation. I was undecided between my BlondieChell costume (seen in pics) and my bearded hat. BlondieChell won. While we were running though (even though it was 10 a.m.) I wished I had gone with the beareded hat-it was *that* cold!

My Cape!!!

The contestants...You can't see me because of tall people...

                   Here's a short clip of me running at the end of the race!

Yay! I did it! Sure, my time was a bit slower than the 5K I did during the summer, but it was also super cold out, so, I think it balances out! Next year, the crocheted beard will make an appearance for sure! Thanks for staying tuned!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Trip? or.... Trip!

           There seems to be this strange "family curse" or whatever that affects our family. It's not entirely clear whether it's rooted in the McCarthy or vanVeen side (Dutch + Irish = it's own curse??) but what is clear is that it affects everyone in our family. It seems that the most random things, (or whatever possibility CAN happen *will*) happen to us. Did you read 8 Crazy Hours? Would you believe that when my sister flew back home, one of her bags was rolled over by the "luggage train" on the tarmac and crushed to death? Because of this incident, the bag (and 20% of it's contents) was not returned to her until 24 hours later and then it was in a body bag and in pieces....
           The above episode followed a fall my mom took at a hotel we stayed the weekend in. Since she ended up spraining her wrist, I let her borrow my wrist brace that I was wearing because I sprained mine a few days before. (Did I mention we're also accident prone??)
           Christmas Eve was probably the most memorable for my Mom and sis. We were all sitting around the tree, taking pics of the kids after we let them open one of their presents. I was so excited (and curious) that I wanted to join in the revelry too, so I asked if it was okay to open the gift my Mom almost got arrested at the airport for. My bro & future sis-in-law gave my Mom our gifts to take along with her. Apparently, there was "over 8 ounces" of fluid in the wrapped one for me. Oops. The security guy kindly let it slide since it was Christmas, but not before arguing with my Mom about having to confiscate it. Anyways, we were all *dying* to know what was in the mysterious package. So, I unwrapped it. It was a white box. As I was sliding my finger in the seem, I caught it on a staple. Needless to say, I learned my lesson about opening gifts early and am now scarred for life. Please, if you send me a gift, use a gift bag and tissue paper. (They got me some Bath & Body Works hand soaps, a snowflake wallflower plug-in and scented oils for it!)
           Sure, there were "good", sane moments, like wrapping presents to raise $$ for charity at Wal*Mart (though I did end up getting my fingers stuck to a package...) and visiting the "Grandmas & Grandpas" at the local nursing home (where I forgot a few verses to a favorite Christmas carol and my line of thinking was "they won't notice if I just start singing 'dah-dah-dah'" but they did...oops).
           I don't say all this to get a "aw-I'm-so-sorry-for-your-seemingly-bad-luck-I-pity-you". I'm just stating facts. We don't pity ourselves or get depressed when something goes wrong-we find the humor in it and laugh (or write blog posts). Now, I had started writing this post before my Mom left last Friday. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to go with her on the long drive to the airport, so I entrusted hubby with her, her luggage, and the boys. After my Mom arrived at her gate, she called me. Apparently they had left so early that they had time to stop at a nice restaurant for breakfast. This allowed hubby to officially become a vanVeen. *Somehow* he spilled his entire cup of chocolate milk all over my Mom. Welcome to the family, hubby!
           Well, it was an exciting-memory filled trip, and we had our family pics done with my Mom & sis  no one died. You can check out the shoot here.