Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas "firsts" and "lasts"

We are having a wonderful Christmas here and I hope you are too.

Each year I think "this is my favorite stage of my kids lives" but then the next year I am surprised at how much I love the next stage.

I never thought I'd love the teen years. But I can honestly say that I really do.
The way they interact with each other (most of the time) is really fun to watch. We spend so much time laughing.

I'm not sure if having our oldest off at college has made us all appreciate "family time" even more or if it has something to do with the move to a different state, but the kids are close and seem to support each other and enjoy spending time together. Don't get me wrong, they still have their moments but the good ones outweigh the bad ones and those are the times I choose to focus on.

This Christmas as I sat back and watched my kids, I realized that this year there were a lot of "firsts" and "lasts" in our home. I thought I would see if I could write some of them out.

a first: having my children's "significant others" (ie. boy/girl friends) at our home during the holidays.

a last: having our kids all to ourselves....Nae spent part of Christmas day with her boyfriends family (which is also a "first" too) I guess I have to share right?
a first: my kids are finally enjoying family game time (in the past I always had to force them to play, now they actually ask to play).

a last: I think this may be the last Christmas that Tony runs around the house jumping up and down continually on Christmas Eve saying "Tomorrow is Christmas! Tomorrow is Christmas!" all of the other kids seem to have outgrown the "childish excitement" for Christmas....which is sad.

searching for the Christmas helps to tell them ahead of time that the prize is a gift card this year....

a first: Not having "what I want for Christmas" lists ten miles long from each kid. This year Mac's list was "a curling iron" and Buds list was "a DVD". Not fun to work with, especially when there are grandparents wanting ideas too.

I should mention that Tony only had one item on his list this year too....
a first: We will be meeting the parents of Nae's boyfriend today. Makes me feel old, but she is a senior in college so I guess these things have to happen soon or later.

a first: Having my girls help me in the kitchen (and not having to beg) and enjoying cooking together.

my girls....
Have a wonderful rest of the holiday season everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas ice storm

We had an ice storm yesterday and last night.

I was out walking the puppy during all of this
(or slipping and sliding all over the place)

I must admit, when we've had ice storms in the past,
I usually just stay inside and cuddle under a blanket with a book.
But because of the pup,
this is the first time I've been outside and appreciated the beauty of an ice storm.
Not only visually, but enjoying the sounds.
As usual, with snow on the ground, all of natures sounds are muffled.
But with the layers of ice there is a constant crackling from the wind grabbing hold of the trees and shaking it's ice wrapped appendages.
I was surprised to savor the beauty and peacefulness of the storm.
It also caused me to be thankful for my life
and to think on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of my Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

birthdays and ovarian gymnastics

Yesterday my oldest son turned 19.
I like to blog a little something for my kids birthday.

They like it too....


I'm a little late (I babysat the twins yesterday).
Having those babies around does something to me.

It's hard to explain
it must have something to do with the ovaries or something.
I get this yearning,
the ovaries start limbering up,
stretching out the hamstrings, a couple of jumping jacks,
you know get the blood flowin'

(I think my male readers just logged off).

So I got out all the old photo albums and looked at pictures of Bud when he was a baby.
I could feel my ovaries heave a big sigh.

I was all sentimental and sappy and stuff.

The Hubs came home and saw the big pile of photo albums out
"why are all those out?" he asked....with a little bit of an attitude
...if you ask me

I wanted to say "duhhhh! It's our baby's 19th birthday
I'm having a maternal moment here!
Just back off!"
You know, if he can't figure out by now what it does to me when our babies get all "grown up"and stuff.... that it makes me want to pull out all the old photos and droll over those big fat baby cheeks and big blue eyes....

well ,it would be useless to explain it to his "maleness"
can I have an "amen" ladies?

ahem. maybe it's just me.

So anyhoo, yesterday I did a lot of page flipping and sighing and "awww"ing.
Me, the photo albums and my ovaries.

and I realized I do have some regrets (don't we all)
but my biggest is not appreciating it all more...

that, and not kissing those baby cheeks till they chapped.

my ovaries know what I'm talking about.

Friday, December 11, 2009

for Amber and Brian

Life was going along rather smoothly at my new home,
I've almost got MY person trained.
Life revolved around me (as it should). MY person feeds me, plays with me, collects my poo (she seems to really like my poo-she grabs it every time I go! I know weird ehh?)

Then this morning....

then these strange things showed up at MY house.

for a while it wasn't so bad.
These things just made a few weird noises.
little squeaks and grunts
I decided to keep guard....

you never know what might be in those things.
then one of them made a horrible racket!

so I did what needed to be done.
I switched sides.

I'll guard the quiet one.

But then the one making all the noise stopped and the other one started!

and it got a little crazy.

and MY person pulled THIS thing out.

I'm not sure what is but it sure smells funny.

especially this end...

I guess this end isn't so bad, although MY person won't let me close for long enough to get a good smell and lick.
Then there was more noise from those things again....

and MY person pulled another one out (gosh! I hope there not anymore in there!)
and then the first one fell asleep on the chair
MY chair!
The one that I'm not even allowed to sit in!
so I show her!

of course she kicked me out!

and they both started making a ruckus!

and MY silly person got into this contraption
I began to get a little annoyed.
How is she going to throw MY ball?
How is she going to pick ME up and carry ME?

So the best thing for me to do is remind her whose in charge here.
so I rang my "go outside bell" and waited.

I'll let her pick up some poo. Then she'll know who's #1!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Getting my Christmas spirit on

I decided that for me to get into the Christmas mood I needed to find my nativity scene even though I won't be putting it up (I will put it out Christmas day and just keep a close eye on it).
Well, then I had to take it out and look at it because it is my favorite Christmas decoration.
Then I thought maybe it would help get in the Christmas mood even more if I blogged about it.
Yeah, kinda lame, but did I mention this is my favorite Christmas decoration?

Like I mentioned before, it was made by a woman at my church back in Kalamazoo.

She is a weaver. She weaved all the clothes and dyed all the different wool that she uses.

This is Mary and Baby Jesus. Mary has some beautiful black curls (you can't see very well) and Jesus has some crazy hair going on.

This is Joseph. I love his curly beard.

Each Magi has a coordinating camel.

This guy has an awesome braid

Here's one of the sheep. They are very cute.

Here's a Shepherd holding a sheep.

I like him because of his very cool coat.

This is my favorite Magi. He's got some major bling going on.
Silk shirt and a little mink on his coat and hat.
Another cool thing about the lady that makes these is that she will incorporate any thing you want into your set. If you got some old jewelry from great grandma she can use it.
(last I heard she not making these anymore)

The detail is very cool. Each camel has a little pouch that rattles with something in it and a pack on their back with blankets. See the little tassels?

The donkey is my favorite (not sure why)

He even has the cross on his back (you know the legend that he didn't get that until after he carried Mary pregnant with Christ).

Yes, I'm feeling a little better about Christmas now.

And btw thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I'm really having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year!
Yeah, I got the tree up and a few decorations.

Maybe it's because I didn't put out half of my Christmas "stuff" this year because of the pup.

I'm really missing my nativity scene. I don't dare put it out.
It's all hand made by a woman from my church back in Kalamazoo who is a weaver.

The worst part is I'm not even sure where it is. I keep it in a separate box with cedar so it doesn't get eaten by moths.
I have a vague memory of showing to the mover guy who was packing my basement up and labeling it as an item to take "extra special care of". Um, yeah....

Or maybe it's because I haven't even started my Christmas shopping yet. I have four kids who claim to have no idea what they want for Christmas.

That is disturbing on many levels.
Yes, it would be nice to believe that they are just a bunch of sweet, selfless teens who are seeing beyond all the hype of the holiday season and are realizing the "true meaning" of Christmas. They don't need the stuff...

But that's not what I'm thinking.

I'm guessing that as parents maybe we give them too much year round so they don't "need" or "want" anything.

That or they are too lazy to figure it out.

They have grandparents who like to get their shopping done before all the last minute madness starts. A list would be nice for them too.

I'm almost afraid to ask if this is this a normal teen thing? And I'm refusing to just give them money for Christmas. But the longer this goes on the more of a Scrooge I become.
Here's all that puppy wants for Christmas
"His two front teeth"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas lights taste like chicken

He escapes from me for one second....

but I always know where to look first...

Me: "Puppy.....!"

Ace: "What? I'm not doing anything!"

Me: "Puppy! Are you chewing on the lights again?!"

Ace: "Um...I have no idea what you're talking about."

Me:"Give me those lights! I already had to take them all down once!"

Ace:"I didn't do it I swear! I don't know what you're talking about"

Me: "I'm gonna kill you if you break those again! Let go NOW!"
Ace: "Stop! don't take them away! I was just whitening my teeth! I swear!"

Ace: "This doesn't mean I'm not getting any Christmas presents does it?"

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Christmas Pickle and our other silly traditions

When Nae was in the fourth grade I was visiting her classroom just before Christmas break.
The teacher asked the kids to share what their favorite family Christmas tradition were.
I'll never forget the look on Nae's face when she looked to me for an answer.

The truth was we had none.
Zero. Zilch.

I wasn't raised with any traditions.
I'd had Nae young, got married, had another baby, went through nursing school, worked full time had two more kids. Life was a blur at that time.
I was 26 years old. I had trouble planning my meals for the week.

But after listening to those cute little kids proudly describe the special things they did around the holidays I knew we needed to find some traditions.
And fast!

So I started talking about it with the kids.

Now I will warn you these are pretty silly traditions.
There are no deep meanings in these.
It's just what we do as a family.

Christmas ornaments:
I don't know if you'd count this as a tradition but I do. Each kid has their own Christmas ornament box. Every year I buy a new ornament or two for each kid that has something to do with what they are interested in that year. Because I only have one ornament from when I was a kid, I wanted for my kids to someday leave home and have a box full of ornament and memories.
When we decorate the tree it makes it easy for the kids to hang their own ornaments and reminisce.

Christmas Eve PJ's and Secret Santa:
One year I thought it would be nice to have new PJ's for Christmas morning. I wrapped them and told the kids they got to open one gift Christmas Eve. I know, it was kinda mean. They were not thrilled with their PJ's but then to my surprise the next year they asked if we could do that again. So now every year we do the same thing. The kids joke about how they don't know what the gift is. They act all excited and silly. The only twist now is when we have others with us on Christmas Eve, guess what they get. Yep, new PJ's. Now that the kids are older they have also added Secret Santa on Christmas Eve. The kids draw names just between themselves at Thanksgiving and open that gift the night before Christmas.

Monkey Bread and A Christmas Story:
We all get into our new PJ's and make monkey bread, drink egg nog and watch the best Christmas movie ever.
Yes, A Christmas Story. I think everyone in my family can recite that movie by heart. And if you haven't seen it...then you're lame! I can't imagine there is anyone living in the USA who hasn't seen it but if you haven't just go to TBS on Christmas Eve, they play it nonstop, back to back all day and night long (yes, it's that good!).

Santa comes:
Yes, Santa still comes at our house. When my kids got to the age where they notified me that they didn't believe that Santa was real we had a little heart-to-heart (or shall I say a veiled threat). This is kinda how my end of the conversation went: "Honey, you can believe whatever you want-- but Santa still comes to our house and brings all the presents. If you decide to tell your brothers or sister what you believe-- then you will get nothing from Santa--oh, and did I mention that Santa brings ALL the presents?"

It worked for me.

The Christmas Pickle:
I'm a little worried that this might be a little many have asked. Back during that first year of trying to find some traditions, someone told me about the Christmas Pickle. I had to search forever to find one. Now a days they are everywhere and come with a little card describing some "pickle legend" or something.
I don't know anything about all that.
All I know is that I hide the pickle on the tree Christmas Eve and the kid who finds it first Christmas morning gets a little extra present. In the past I've given candy or an special ornament. This year I will be kicking it up a little with a gift card (gotta keep the teens engaged).

Christmas Strata:
Every year I make a strata for breakfast Christmas morning. It is the same recipe of strata that was served at my bridal shower. It's nice because I can make it the night before, set the table and not have to do anything in the morning except enjoy the family.
I will admit for years the kids hated strata and complained constantly. A few years ago I told them that I would make something different. "You can't do that!!! It's our tradition!!" Now they all claim to like it.

So there you have it. Every year I am threatened with bodily harm if I forget any of our traditions (really).

It just goes to show you that your traditions don't have to be fancy or elaborate. Just as long as they are special to your family.

I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions (I would love to keep adding more)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

some of my favorite ornaments

Yesterday, McGillicutty over over at Inner Rambling of a Mid Life Mama did a blog about her ornaments and invited us to join in....

So I snapped a couple pics of my favorite on my tree.
You'll notice they are the fanciest or the prettiest.

They are the ones that bring back sweet memories.

This guy was the first "ornament" I ever bought when I was a single mom and I
had one of those little 3 foot high fake trees that was empty.
He was what I used as an angel for the top.

This ornament I found stuffed in my sister closet in June 1989 after she was killed in a car accident. Nae, her niece was born the September before. She must have had it made for her and then either forgot about it or couldn't find it on her last Christmas with us.

This one represents the ornaments I've made with the kids in the past.
Mac and I made a couple of these one year (and I love snowmen).

This is one of my only ornaments I have from my childhood (teen years actually)
Yes, I was a cheerleader and I think one of my friends' mom made these for all the girls one year (is that right Amy?)

yes, We have a Christmas Pickle. If you don't know what this is, I will blog about it later on a Christmas traditions blog I will be posting later.
This is one of the many ornaments we collected on vacation. Everywhere we go we always buy one. I have a bunch of ornaments from all over the USA.

This one represents the ornaments I have of the kids that have pictures on them. I don't have very many and if I had to do it all over again, I would make an ornament of each kid each year (yeah I'm sure they would love it...)
Well, thanks for stopping by!
Hope you're Holiday preparation is going well!
(Oh! and go visit McGillicutty!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hanging Christmas lights and other dangerous life risking activities

Mac and I tried to hang the Christmas lights in the tree in front of our house the other day.
Yes "tried"....
I know, I know, I'm not sure why I even thought I could do this. I've told you about my fear of heights, but I had to go and do something.

Hubby was working on our kitchen project, tiling the back splash.
Who knew the builders of our house could hang cupboards so crooked (or maybe the floors are sloped.... so then the counters are off...I don't know)

Anyhoo, the tiles were not "lining up" or whatever and I was trying to offer my "I've-never-done-this-before-so-I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-talking-about" opinion.

Hubby really wasn't in the mood to listen.

It was obvious that it would be best if I just leave the house. I thought I'd try and do something nice for Hubby since he was working so hard.

I got the ladder out and all the lights and Mac wasn't doing anything so she said she'd help.
Actually, I think it was just an excuse for her to make fun of me.

I will admit I was kinda of whimpering when I got up on that ladder.
Not on purpose of course.
Mac said if I was going to "cry like a baby" then she would just do it.

I'm not sure if I've said it before, but the only thing scarier than being up high is watching one of your kids up high.
As soon as she got up there my only thought was "she gonna fall and die!" well, that and my first quick fleeting thought: "hey my butt used to look like that".

As I held the ladder, I closed my eyes but then I realized if she fell I wouldn't be able to catch her.
So, I had to force myself to open them and watch. And the whimpering started again and then I started shaking (remember this is all completely uncontrollable). And I worried if I shook too hard I would knock her off the ladder myself.

Unfortunately, the neighbors were outside hanging their Christmas lights too. And I can only imagine what they thought of their new neighbors.

Me: whimpering.
Mac: "Come on Mom! Suck it up! You're fine!".
Me: "This isn't....*shudder*.....a good...*choke*....idea"
Mac: "Oh my gosh Mom! you know you wouldn't have this problem if you weren't such a conformist!"

She's referring to the fact that all our neighbors put light on the trees out in front of their houses that line the street. All the same way, all the same color, all the way through our neighborhood. A fact that we were informed about during our first neighborhood block party in July....

yeah, I know, give me a cliff...

I'll jump if you do.

Back to the scene out front. As Mac goes on about her conformist spiel, I glace over at my neighbor to the right, who I know is hearing this whole conversation. He gives me this apologetic smile and shrug of the shoulders.

His tree died last summer so he planted a new one. He can reach the top without a ladder.

Mac hollers over to him "Hey! how come you have such a small tree?"

He tells her how his tree died.

Mac: "Why can't we just kill our tree like he did? Then we won't have to worry about your crazy fear of heights" she says this loud enough that my embarrassment is beginning to obscure my urge to cry. She is now standing on the second to top rung of the ladder while reaching over to drape the lights on a limb.

I feel like I'm gonna throw up now.

I tell her she has to get down. Mac continues to rant about my silly fears and on and on.

Later Hubby and Bud came out and hung the lights with this little telescoping hookie thingie.

Who knew we had one of those.

Here's my new glass tile back splash