Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

On The Fifth Day of Christmas.....

My house is filled with toys and socks
and paper and dirty dishes
and hugs and kisses

and presents all around
........Christmas continues here!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Challenge

Sparky at My Thoughts Exactly honored me with the Christmas Spirit Award. I am supposed to list 5 things I love about Christmas.

This award should actually go to my mother. She loves Christmas and many of our family traditions feature events that she hosts. So I think my five things will really be things that happen at mother's home.

1. Every year since my oldest son...her oldest grandson was 3, my mother and daddy have taken any grandchild (who is potty trained) to the Nutcracker ballet. They have had as many as 10 grandchildren with them some years. My mother always holds the youngest on her lap and whispers the story to daddy always sleeps through it. Now mother takes the greatgrands....4 of them live close enough to participate.

2. After the ballet the grands spend the night at mother's house. She has dolls and trains that she gets out each Christmas especially for them to play with. Santa leaves a little surprise for them under the tree.

3. On Christmas eve the whole family gathers at my parents home for supper and fun. The children play in the basement, the adults wander from room to room catching up with each other. My oldest and his family comes in from out of town, my nephew comes up from Florida, teenagers bring their girlfriends....We all check out mother's newest decorations. This year she put a full size white tree in her all white guest bedroom. Carolers line the steps to the living room, Nutcrackers fill the table by the front door, Hallmark wind up toys line the buffet in the kitchen and giant red ornaments hang from the chandelier in the dining room. She has a pink feather tree in her bedroom, a tree in the kitchen and her big tree in the living room. (I haven't even scratched the surface of decorations here)

4. As the evening winds down mother passes out gifts and the the greatgrands play the elves helpers. Everyone goes home with sacks of presents to be opened Christmas morning.

5. At the end of the evening my Daddy breaks open the sparkling grape juice and everyone has a glass. On Christmas day my parents like to make their rounds to everyone's see what Santa brought and to take family pictures.

The recipient of the Christmas Spirit award is supposed to pass it along to 5 other people. I would love to know what Betsy of My Five Men loves about Christmas as well as Lori of My Blessed Life, Denise from Look Beyond the Pickett Fence, Trish from Nana's Living the Dream, and Nihal of CrossRoads.

Ladies the Christmas ornament is in your court. Go for it!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why A Great Picture is Nearly Impossible

I spent Christmas eve at my mother's I've done almost every year since 1978 or so. Before that we always went to my Bigmother's home. At Bigmother's (my maternal grandmother) we cousins would chase each other through the house, play elevator in my uncle's big closet and wait until it was time to pass out gifts. We didn't open our presents there. We always took them home and waited until Christmas morning to open them. Then, on Christmas afternoon we traveled around to each other's homes to see everyone's gifts.

Christmas eve at mother's is much the same. My two siblings and their grown children and grandchildren are there as well as my children and grandchildren that live close by. We eat, the kids play and after a while they start asking to pass out the presents. My mother plays Santa and the kids are all her helpers, delivering gifts to the recipients.

No one decorates a house for Christmas like my mother. Every year we have to walk through all the rooms looking for new stuff. This year it was an almost life size Santa standing at the top of the stairs waiting to greet us all.

Family photo Christmas eve 2008

After taking copious amounts of photographs of each other and hugs, kisses and Merry Christmas's all around my youngest (unmarried) son and I follow my oldest son's family to their home a couple of hours north of mother's. We spend the night and have Christmas morning with them. It is so much fun to be with children on Christmas morning.

Later as we were leaving, I asked my daughter in law to take a picture of me with the kids. I thought you might like to see why it is so hard to get a great shot.

Baby is not too happy at being snatched up for a picture

Baby squirming to get away, sister #1 too busy with something on
the floor to get in the picture, sister #2 happy to rest, maybe take a nap

Wouldn't this make a great time to play hide and seek?

Almost everyone is looking at the camera!

Trying to get baby to look up and smile

At least this time we are all looking up

I've gotta get one last hug and kiss before I let go!

Christmas isn't over yet, because this afternoon my Texas family will be rolling into town to spend a week. I will be spending the rest of the day cleaning. It's a big can see I am already procrastinating!

I hope everyone of you have had a wonderful time with your loved ones too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mary Did You Know?

Illustration by Phil Boatwright

Mary...did you know that your baby boy
will one day walk on water?

Mary...did you know that your baby boy
will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy
has come to make you new?
The child that you've delivered will
soon deliver you.

Mary...did you know that your baby boy
will give sight to a blind man?

Mary...did you know that your baby boy
will calm a storm with His hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby you've
kissed the face of God.

The blind will see...
The deaf will hear...
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap...
The dumb will speak
the praises of the Lamb!

Mary...did you know that your baby boy
is Lord of all creation?

Mary...did you know that your baby boy
will one day rule the nations?

Did your know that your baby boy
is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping child you're holding
is the Great I Am.

-Mark Lowery

The angel said to Mary, "...You are to call Him Jesus...He will be great...and His kingdom will never end." Luke 1: 30-33

Monday, December 22, 2008

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

Did you know there are multiple versions of this old German Christmas carol? I think I like this one best:

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green in summer's clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
What happiness befalls me when oft
at joyous Christmas-time
Your form inspires my song and rhyme.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
What happiness befalls me

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson
That constant faith and hope sublime
Lend strength and comfort through all time.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson.

For most of the years my children lived at home we had a live tree. In the early years we would go to the woods and select a tree to cut and bring home. Once my ex and my brother-in-law went together to get both families a tree, while my sister and I stayed at her home with our very young children. When I returned home, I found a pine tree on the porch that was as tall as our roof. You can imagine that tree needed quite a trim to fit in our modest living room.

I still remember the protests the year I bought a tree from a tree lot for the first time. I was accused of ruining Christmas. After my divorce, we continued to buy real trees for a few years, but I wanted to be independent. I hated having to depend on my children for help buying the tree, getting it home, and later to helping me dispose of it. So, I bought my first artificial tree...much to the chagrin of my kids. It wasn't so bad. I bought a tall pretty one. But it was so heavy, I still had to ask for help.

This year I bought another artificial tree. It is skinnier. It doesn't weigh as much. But I still asked TJ to come help me get the ornaments down from the attic.

Hmmm, I think I will need a new one level house to solve that problem.

My everything on it tree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Movie Roll

Recently Willow from Life at Willow Manor listed a movie alphabet on her blog. I was over at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes last night and she took the challenge and posted an alphabet of foreign films. I tried to leave a few of my favorites in the comments, but Blogger was being difficult and I finally gave up. I just checked again and apparently my comment did take, but in the meantime, I've given the list a go myself. I couldn't cover the whole alphabet, but I've come up with a fairly comprehensive list of foreign films I've seen.

Amelie (French)
Antonia's Line (Dutch)
Billy Elliot (British)
Bon Voyage (French)
Buddy (Norwegian)
Children of Heaven (Iranian)
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Chinese)
Eat Drink Man Woman (Chinese)
Dear Frankie (British)
Farewell My Concubine (Chinese)
Girl From Paris (French)
Golden Door (Italian)
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (French)
Joyeux Noel (French/German/British)
Man on the Train (French)
Monsoon Wedding (Indian)
Muriel's Wedding (Australian)
Nowhere In Africa (German?)
Once (Irish/British)
Paris Je T'aime (French)
Rabbit Proof Fence (Australian)
Ridicule (French)
Rosenstrasse (German)
Salaam Bombay (Indian)
Seven Samurai (Japanese)
Shall We Dance (Japanese version)
Tea With Mussolini (British)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (French)
The Triplets of Belleville (French)
Tsotsi (South Africa)
The Tunnel (German)
Under Solen (Swedish)
Volver (Spanish)
Whale Rider ( New Zealand)

Joyeux Noel 2005

If you are looking for a different kind of Christmas movie, check out Joyeux Noel. The setting is Christmas Eve during WWI on the battlefield in France. A short lived truce is called by both sides so that they can bury their dead and forget the war for one night. The events that take place are based on true accounts of that 1914 Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Minute Shopping

Anyone need a last minute gift for that girly girl on your list. How about high heel purses made from her own favorite shoes? Shoshanna Smith will make you a purse to order.

How about something for that loved one with trust issues. Their very own portable lie detector might be the perfect long as you have nothing to hide. It comes with batteries, wrist strap and a one year guarantee for only $69.95.

Maybe some messy someone you know would appreciate a beard vacuum.

And finally for you and your significant other...time release handcuffs ....for when you want to be stuck together.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Epiphany!

e·piph·a·ny A comprehension or perception of reality by means of
a sudden intuitive realization:

I just had an epiphany! I may not have gotten around to baking cookies this holiday season, but I sure have whipped up a lot of royal icing. While I was in Texas, we made graham cracker houses. This was my first time to do so with these granddaughters.

The elves were happy to help with this task.

It takes a lot of concentration to build a masterpiece.

We managed to put almost every bit of candy bought on these pieces of cracker real estate.

It was fun for me to be able to carry on this family tradition with my Texas cowgirls.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm Late, I'm Late......

I bet you're all finished with your shopping. I can tell by those self-satisfied looks on your faces. Please tell me I am not the only one running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Santa, please send cookies 'cause I don't have time to bake!

Christmas Zetti

I made these ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) a couple of years ago. They are my attempt to do something in Teesha Moore's style called Zettiology. Take a couple of minutes and explore her website if you want to know more.

Just thought I would infuse a bit of weirdness into your Christmas countdown.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Love A Parade

I love a parade, especially a Christmas parade!

On Friday we toured Main Street Bethlehem in Burnet Texas. On Saturday afternoon we returned for the Christmas parade. While we waited we wandered around the town square browsing the craft booths set up there.

We shopped some in a Christmas shop filled to bursting with treats, goodies and Christmas decorations.
Would you like to buy ornaments for your cowboy Christmas tree?

Or listen to some real good fiddlin ya'll.

The girls kicked and scuffed in the dirt and managed to meet a cowboy while they were at it.

It's almost time for the parade!

Finally! Toss some of that candy this way please!

We finished the night off by viewing a local Cedar Park home decorated with 75,000 lights synchronized to music that can be picked up by tuning your car radio to the correct frequency.

Then it was home for some rest. A good time was had by all.