Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Something to End the Year

As I sat closing everything out for the official year end, I came across a gift I had been given from one of my dear clients in Chicago.  It's an "inspirational" book that has quotes, ancient proverbs and just thoughts by many famous people.  There is a thought a day and the truth is that I've had it on my desk for nearly a year and today was the first time I opened it.  I randomly turned to a section with a quote by Oprah, "You can't live your life to please other people." I realized that this gave me all of the inspiration I needed to end my year.

I know that there are more people that don't agree, respect or understand what I do.  Some see it as selfish, some see it as greedy, some think I take vacations for a living (I WISH!).  I've spent so much time trying to justify my life to other people that it's made me question myself a million times a day ... until today.  And as much as I question myself, I struggle with balancing it all even more.  I've always said that when my job effects my family in a negative way I'd be done.  These last 2 months have been especially difficult for me.  Last night I went home and told Steve, "I'm done. I just want to be done." He looked at me and said, "Okay. If that's what you want but don't do it for us.  We are proud of you.  We miss you when you're gone but we love what you do and that you do it for us.  If you really want to quit, quit but do it for you and not us or because of what other people think.  None of that matters."  So, I was up all night thinking, "what if what I do means more to them than me just being gone."  I've never thought that before. 

So, here's my New Year's Resolution.  One day at a time.  Live every day like I won't be here tomorrow.  Take a deep breath, give myself a break and not analyze every second of every day.  Love my husband and my children a little more each day not because I have something to make up, but just because I can.  And above all else, not live my life to please everyone else.

Holiday Fun!

I think it's safe to say that everyone in our house had the best Christmas yet!  We packed as much in as we possibly could which was exhausting but I'm so glad we did it! 

Christmas Eve we woke up, had brunch with Steve's family and then he and I took the girls and their cousins, Josh & Sydney sledding.  We had a BLAST!  Maggie went snowboarding for the first time and loved it - and she did a really good job too!!!  Then we got ready and had a great time with Steve's whole family.  It wasn't long and we were off on our way to spend the holiday with my Dad and Vicki which was great!  Emma was so tired by the time that we got there that she wasn't really all about it but she snapped out of it pretty quickly.

Christmas morning we woke up bright and early and opened gifts that Santa brought and the girls couldn't have been happier.  They each got a Nintendo DSi which has been a major hit (although Emma's had her's taken away twice now...), an iPad, games, clothes, barbies, puzzles and art supplies.  Santa was very good to Mommy and Daddy too ... Steve got a food processor and I got a beautiful bracelet from Tiffany & Co.  Life was good, right?  Right!  Next we were hustling to get ready to go to Carla's for Christmas Day.  Once again, the girls had so much fun playing with their cousins and it was just a wonderful day. 

And now, life as we know it can get back to normal.  Monday morning school starts, everyone is back to work and by Wednesday I'm back on the road. 

2010 has been pretty good to us ... I can only hope that 2011 is just as good, if not better!

Sydney, Emma & I went down together to pick up speed ... Josh met us at the bottom with a snowball!

Think Emma liked the iPad?

Cousins: Lola, Maggie, Carley, Emma

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cupcakes and Christmas Celebrations!

As you may know, I've been making cupcakes for about a year now.  Occasionally I do them for birthday parties or just for fun but I was really excited to get my first "BIG" order earlier this week.  Lakeview's PTO needed 400 of them for the holiday parties that happened yesterday and I'm thrilled to say that I delivered!  I've got it down to a science now, I think.  If I do mini-cupcakes I can bake 4 dozen at a time which means that I can bang out 32 dozen cupcakes in one hour, approximately and I can do 16 dozen regular sized cupcakes in one hour.  I had cupcakes EVERYWHERE but they looked great and tasted pretty good too!  The kids were excited and the teachers were even more excited since they've been stripped of all "unhealthy treats" including their soda and coffee machines.  That's a topic I won't get on though because I will rant for hours.  Anyway, after we delivered the goods, Steve and I were off to enjoy the holiday party with Maggie.  She was so excited that we came - it was a great day!  Now, CHRISTMAS, here we come!!  Merry Christmas to everyone from the Mantel's!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blizzard Aiden

December 11 & 12, 2010: First Blizzard of the Season

This wonderful storm only dropped about 10 inches on us here in Neenah but just north of us saw anywhere between 10-22 inches of snow.  We had significant blowing and drifting and then the part where our snow stopped but the ice started was a really great bonus ... yeah right!  Steve headed out with the girls to snowblow the 3 foot drift at the end of our driveway from when the plow went through and the snowblower died.  I don't mean, "let's take it in to get serviced",  I mean DIED.  I'm not sure if it's a sign or something telling us to move out of this horrible climate or what.  Anyway, then lunch rolls around and I noticed that Emma was burning up with a fever and 5 minutes later she was throwing up.  Poor baby!  I hate it when they get sick ... and I'm sure that Blizzard Aiden brought the nasty little virus her way.  Finally, this morning, here we are.  Just about every school in the state is delayed 2 hours because of windchills (except for Neenah of course) ... did I mention that the blizzard brought arctic temperatures and today we are forecasted for a high of 0?  Ugh ... only one thing I can think of to say at this point.  I'd much rather have a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard from DQ than this kind!!!  Note: photos below are of the windows that we were looking out of yesterday - snow and ice filled.  Not much of a view!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snow Angels

Last night we got about 4 inches of the fluffy white "stuff" (nicer word than what I would normally call it).  The girls got up this morning and wanted to know if they could go out and shovel the driveway ... it didn't take me but a second to agree.  They did a great job and finished off with a few angels!  Lucky for them, tomorrow we're expecting 12 more inches....somewhere in a warm and sunny location there is a home calling my name!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


One word that describes one of my least favorite things.....cold, snow, ice, wind chills, YUCK!  But, one thing that I love about winter is some of the pictures I've gotten of the girls over the past few years.  Perhaps its the color that pops but I just love it ... that and their chubby little baby cheeks!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Daughter, the Star

Last night Miss Maggie had her first stage debut as Mrs. Claus!  She was so nervous but she did a fantastic job!  I thought I was video taping the entire thing until the end when I realized that I never pushed the "record" button ... I'm such an idiot sometimes.  So, not only do I not have any photos of it, I don't have video either.  :(  She sure looked beautiful though ... on our way home last night she informed us that she was pretty sure that Miley Cyrus started out as Mrs. Claus too ... ah the mind of a 7 year old.  At least she has goals and dreams, right???  And after we got home she decided to pose for a few final photos ... in her PJ's and a pair of my boots.  What a girl!