Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas! (okay, a day late, but we were all busy yesterday!)

I admit I feel kind of a let down when Christmas is over. It's something I've been struggling with all my life, so no biggie. No, it's not because of gifts or superficial things like that. It's simply a let-down of all the hub-bub and build up that is now over. Plus, I feel like the other side of Christmas is just a road towards another hot summer that I dread like a root-canal without novocain. Okay, it's also a road towards going back to work, and it seems my birthday in April happens way fast after Christmas is over. I know, I know, I have issues! lol


I think we sent all the Christmas cards out that we intended to. Well, I know I missed three: My cousin Jeff (sorry Jeff), my dentist (sorry Dr. Marinoff), and my friend Julie (sorry Julie!). I ran out of stamps and before I knew it, it was Christmas! Ack! So I'll post our Christmas card and that should ease some guilt, but not a lot. I don't think "electronic greetings" and "e-cards" do the trick. Sure, I don't mind those things for casual greetings and messages. However, when it comes to the important things like birthdays and Christmas, etc, it has to be the real thing! That said, here is our holiday greetings this year. We had to take advantage of our snow pictures from Thanksgiving for our Holidays cards this year!

Seasonal Christmas!

Weather-wise, it was a pe
rfect seasonal Christmas. It never left the 50s and it rained on and off all day. And today, even though the sun is making more of an appearance (DARN!), temperature wise, it's still perfect:

But unfortunately, like all good things, it won't last. Oh, don't get me wrong, the 60s are great for winter too around here. I just love the 50s the best. It's about as cold as you can expect on the hell floor, I mean the valley floor, so this Christmas has been a blessing!


The kids loved Christmas this year of course. We spent Christmas Eve at Chris's cousin Teasha's house out in Pinal County/Florence. We did struggle from Christmas Eve until now with Christian running a fever and battling an ear infection 9we had to leave Teasha's a little early on Christmas Eve, due to that. (We would have stayed longer, but Christian didn't start getting sick until we were there). Thank goodness for Motrin and ear drops. It made sense that he started with the ear infection. 2 weeks ago he had an upper-respiratory infection, and ear infections usually follow. But you wouldn't know it in our Christmas Eve shots (also posted above)!

Papa and Georgia spent Christmas Day with us and we just hung out - had a big breakfast and then honeybaked ham for dinner. I went jogging in the rain of course, but it does nothing to prevent the scale from eeking up. Gosh, this time of year is such a struggle with such things. But back to happy, back to happy! Here are some of our "Joys" having their Christmas Eve "Joy". And yes, those are their red jammies from Thanksgiving and from Halloween!


And the S
tockings were hung...

come up with your own title for this one! lol

Monday, December 22, 2008

Seasonal Christmas at Last!

Finally! It looks like we'll have a real winter Christmas. Notice I don't say 'White Christmas". Ha! That would be a cold day in well, here. But it's currently cold (for here), rainy and SEASONAL. Love it. Too many Christmases around here have been plagued with too much sunlight and warm 70s. Yuck. I really should get into Vampire stories with the way I am resistant to sunlight.

I remember in 1994, a month and a half after Chris and I were married, it rained rained rained all day Christmas. Now THAT was awesome. Probably the last time that it rained on Christmas. And even if it
doesn't rain like predicted, the temps still won't leave the 50s. Yay!

Papa and Georgia's Impromptu Visit

And there are winter storms wreaking havoc from the West to the East coasts. Papa and Georgia (Chris's dad and step-mom) flew in last weekend for a funeral in Georgia's family, and due to the winter weather in the Pacific NW, they can't get out on an affordable flight back to Oregon until after Christmas. They originally planned to go back this morning, but since the only thing that was flying out of the Portland were geese, their flight was canceled. We get a treat to have them around even longer this time of year, even if it wasn't quite what they had planned.

Here they are with the kidlets yesterday (Sunday). They came to church with us and everything!

The Lonely Shepherd

Over a decade ago, Chris and I bought our Precious Moments Nativity - it was the three piece set with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. We really should have been adding to it all along (and yes, I'm aware of Joseph's cane. We glued it back together more than once and it still broke off. So we just ignore it). This year, we realized how lame we've been that it STILL didn't have any manger animals, shepherds or wisemen. Tonight we picked up this shepherd and three little lambs (photo above). We also don't want to replace Joseph, because the Joseph they have now first is part of a "set", and two, is slightly different. The Joseph that Precious Moments has now is dark-haired, which is fine by me, except for some reason it looks like Tom Jones. So I'll stick with the original Joseph, despite the broken cane.

Next will come the wisemen, more shepherds and animals, but those are part of a huge set that retails at $150. But since we know now that it is the goal for when we put out the Nativity next year, it shouldn't be too hard to obtain. I also hope that for my birthday in April, Chris gets me the Jim Shore Nativity. I fell in love with it a few years ago and I KNOW I have to add it to the Christmas collection. I've hinted like crazy, but I'm gonna start laying it on thick (and any of you are welcome to help with that):

And to end on a humorous note, my Spidey Skeleton never made it down this year after Halloween (Hey, the rest of the stuff did!). He was taken down in a timely manner last year, but the year before, he didn't make it down either. I had a blue Santa Hat I put on him in 2006. But THIS YEAR, we found that cat Christmas dress-up stuff (you know, that crazy cat people would buy and actually MAKE their cat wear) work well with Spidey's skull. So he is in the spirit of Christmas too! And we had to go to PetSmart for Zoey's bird food anyway and their pet-torturing Christmas clothes were 50% off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Copy Cat Entries - Questionaire and O Christmas Tree!

Well, I've had a pretty crappy day. Sometimes being a teacher can just suck. And it's not necessarily because the kids drive you nuts. That's a given. It's other things. But I won't go there. I'm just trying to shake things off and think of the next two days being the last before CHRISTMAS VACATION and 2 weeks off! Ahhhhhhhhh.......

I have plenty of things to do, but part of my shaking things off is copying from two blogs and just "wasting time". Lol

The first is a questionnaire from my friend Brit's blog (hi Brit!)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both, but I would choose the Hot Chocolate first. Made with MILK and with marshmellows.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
I thought it was okay for Santa to sit them under the tree and wrap a couple, but some can be unwrapped. But Holy Moses...when I said that, Chris about died. He wants Santa to wrap them all. Alrighty then...I guess we're wrapping them all.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
We had the white icicle lights for awhile. That got boring. Now we have a string of blue. Chris insisted on the LED ones though, and the shade is more Ultramarine Blue than a cool aqua blue that the "old school" ones have. But the blue is nice on the house. I like it.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No. My Halloween Spider Skeleton is still up. Hey, that's the only Halloween thing still up. The rest is put away!

5. When do you put up your decorations?
Weekend after Thanksgiving or very shortly after.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Used to be my grandmother's tapioca pudding, but she's no longer with us.
This year we're going to do a Honey Ham. YUM!!!!!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Going to my grandma's in North Phoenix on Christmas Eve. Looking back, it only felt like Christmas when we would go there on Christmas Eve. It just hasn't been the same since. :-( But I love building new memories with my kids. Last year we went to the central Oregon coast for Christmas. Now that was cool. Hey, it was no "christmas eve at grandma's" like when I was a child, but it was definitely one of my favorite Christmases.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
My mom yelled at me and made me feel stupid for still believing. I think it could have been a little more delicate. I think I was 9 or 10.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
When going to my grandmother's on Christmas Eve, we would open her gifts. Now, I think we wait. It kind of changes year to year depending on what we're doing.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
That leads me to my next "blog copy cat" I'll get into the answer to this question below!

11. What is another favorite Christmas tradition memory?
This shouldn't be a "good" memory, but it gives warm fuzzies. We told Chris's family on Christmas Eve 1999 that we were preggers with Mikelle (well, we didn't know her name would be Mikelle, but you get my meaning). I was as sick as a dog, as I was only about 5-6 weeks along. We found out ourselves about 2 weeks before. Then, around the 21st or 22nd of December - BAM - sick as a DOG I was (<---Yoda speak). We didn't want to tell the family until Christmas Eve, so everyone from his family that didn't already live here came into town and I was constantly lying down and sleeping and they probably thought I was the biggest deadbeat. When we told them (at a 5&Diner restaurant in Scottsdale), my sister in law AnneMarie got all giddy and said, "oh, no wonder you haven't been feeling good!" It was nice that they finally had the understanding and didn't think I was the biggest lazy oaf. A week later, on January 2nd, I was hospitalized with hyperemesis and ended up in the hospital a week. But that following August resulted in that little cutie below in that Santa pic.

12. Can you ice skate?
Depends. I can put them on and try, and maybe have a fun time even though my butt will be hurting from falling down, but sure, I can ice skate.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Actually, my favorite gift wasn't a Christmas one. It's hard for me to think of one, because I don't think of what I get that much. I know what I want, but I care more about people's reactions to what I give them.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
getting through it without gaining weight. Okay, I kee'd. That IS important, but not the most important (maybe the second most important. lol). The most important thing for me is building good memories for my kids and making sure those memories are about the true meaning of Christmas with a fun balance of the Santa and jingle bells.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Oh gosh, too many to name. Moving on...

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Between Thanksgiving and the beginning of December, we get the kids pictures taken with Santa. I also do a scrapbook layout for our Christmas cards.

17. What tops your tree?
An angel. See below.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving. I put a lot of thought in it, and if I feel they don't like it, it's kind of hard for me.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Do they Know it's Christmas? By Band Aid. You got the best song and a collection of the best 80s British/UK performers. What more can you ask for? Okay, Depeche Mode wasn't in it (or Erasure, or the Cure or some other awesome ones), but that song is just perfect. It's below on my playlist if you want to give it a listen. :-)

20. Candy Canes?
I had to collect them in 1999 for my intense nausea and throwing up. From that, I don't know how I am not sick of them! That pregnancy ruined the smell of cinnamon for me (since it was everywhere that Christmas), but for some reason not peppermint. Weird.

21. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized?
Yes, but it bugs me that people reject Santa and giving gifts because of the the commercialism. Commercialism has those things, but you can give gifts and have the Santa angle without getting caught up in the commercialism.

Getting back to #10:
How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I was going to post pictures of the tree after seeing my friend Lara's post about it (hi lara!). So it's perfect that I can add these within this questionnaire.

After Chris and I had an ugly "first" Christmas Tree when we got married in 94', we decided our tree should have a theme. Dark blue, white and silver was the consensus. In the early days of the theme, we loved the results, but our tree - though the same colors theme (the blues, whites and silvers) - looks nothing like it did 13 years ago. First of all, our old small tree (only about 5-6 feet) gave way to this fatter 8-footer. And the dark blue ornaments that were homogeneous gave way to a hodgepodge of whimsy ornaments. Some have matching "friends" but many do not. The silver chain isn't used anymore and ribbon and snowflakes have won out as well. Dark blue has mostly evolved to lighter more airy and aqua blues. These aren't the best pictures, but I tried.

When we have a bigger house (you know, 12-20 years from now when the market improves enough to make a profit on our current house), we'll have two trees. Our smaller one for more fun ornaments that aren't so rigid in color. It'll be a "fun tree". Then we can have this one, and I won't feel like such a scrooge for keeping certain ornaments off of it because it doesn't "match".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christian's Favorite YouTube

I occasionally let my kids on YouTube with close monitoring. Someone pointed me in the direction of this video through an email once, and Christian came in when I was watching it. He's been addicted ever since to it. He can watch this OVER and OVER. And he does.

Actually, he got attached to this video LAST YEAR. We returned from our Christmas vacation in Oregon on Dec 30, and then I think I let him watch this video for a few more days after that. Then, we were done. Okay, I was done.

But, 10 1/2 - 11 months later, we're in the car and I'm flipping the channels. This Trans-Siberian Orchestra song (Wizards in Winter - it's also on my Playlist below) was on and Christian immediately remembered it and piped up, "Christmas lights on house! 'Christmas lights on house!" So guess what we're back to watching over and over? Yep. You guessed it.

Hey, I'm not really complaining. First, I love the music. Two, I love that the one YouTube video my son loves is this one and not some vulgar thing or a guy making armpit noises to the tune of Baby Got Back or something. I'm going to enjoy this innocence while it lasts, and yes, continue to closely monitor my kids' "You Tube Viewing".

And three, I'm just glad I don't live across the street or next door to this house!
Can you imagine? Hey, I love the holidays like anyone, but this sort of thing is best kept at a distance, like on YouTube, rather than across the street.

I'm going to try to link it directly into this post. But in the meantime, here's the linky (and if anyone knows how to attach a YouTube vid into a post, please enlighten me):

"Christmas Lights on House!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Season Photo Hodgpodge

Wow! 2 blog entries on the same day! Well, I couldn't leave off on my Christmas frustrations, when this time of year means so much more than that!

BYE-BYE My Little Sunbeam

I am sad that Christian will be losing his Sunbeam teachers in at the end of the month. I don't know who it's going to be harder on - Christian or myself. Christian was so attached to them, that I swore, if something happened to Chris and I and we died, Christian could be adopted by his Sunbeam teachers! I can't write about it anymore, because I'm going to cry or get upset or both.

But anyway, this photo was taken by the teachers a couple of weeks ago and the kids today pasted the picture and decorated it with stickers. Is this a crack-up or what? I don't have to point out which one Christian is, do I?

We took a photo today of Christian and his teachers. We'll use it for a Christmas present to them.

Santa Pictures through the Years

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned the kids and their pictures with Santa through the years. A yearly Santa pics are something I really wanted to do. I have all the pictures, but in essence of time, I won't be able to post them all. These are the ones that are readily available to upload right now.

2000 - Mikelle's First Santa Picture

Just a week or so shy of 4 months, Mikelle had her first picture taken with Santa. She was a little suspicious, but did just fine! I loved that little outfit. She grew out of it way too fast to enjoy it fully that Christmas. Little stinker! :-)

2004 - Christian's First Santa Picture

I have Mikelle's Santa picture from 2001-03, but I'll have to post those when I have more time to get those uploaded. Here is Christian's first Santa photo in 2004. He was 9 months and his helpful big sister was 4.

2005 Santa Picture

The following year, Christian wasn't too sure about a picture with Santa. But Mikelle of course enjoyed every minute of it! Christian was 20 months and Mikelle was 5.

2006 "Hi Sanna Caws"

This was an adorable Santa memory. We waited in line and when it was Mikelle and Christian's turn, Christian went up to Santa, put his hands on his knees, looked up at him and said, 'Hi Sanna Caws," It was so adorable I wish I had it on video. He was 2 and Mikelle was 6.

I'll fill in the holes with last year's photo and 2001-03 later. For now, FIVE DAYS before TWO WEEKS off. But who's counting?

The War on Christmas

I love this time of year, but at the same time, I feel part of some frustrating "war" that is coming at me from two different extremes. So please forgive me, but I am going to vent my frustrations.

1. Having to walk on eggshells at work with teaching because Christmas stuff "might" offend someone. Oh my holy. Cut it out. We're not preaching about the birth of Christ. We're just enjoying the festivities that this time of year brings and I'm just putting up my little tree with lights, maybe play some secular Christmas songs in the background (Rudolph, Santa Claus, etc).

I'm not the only teacher that is sick of all this. One has a FULL SIZE tree in her room. Another was married to a Jewish guy for many years and some of her children observe Christmas and some observe Jewish holidays. But she still puts her little Christmas decorations up. So far, no one has told us to take our "offensive" decorations down. And I know mine isn't budging.

This aggravation goes with the wearing out of the word "holiday" at this time of year. I don't mind "Happy Holidays." But I DO mind "Holiday Trees", "Holiday Stockings" etc. It's a CHRISTMAS tree, people! I'm not Jewish, but does it offend me when a Menorah is in fact called a Menorah? No! No one is calling it a Holiday Candle Holder. So please, people, cut the
politically correct crap and call things what they are - Christmas Stockings, Christmas trees, etc. etc. And "Holiday" means HOLY-DAY, so if you ask me, it's just a religious word as "Christmas" is ("Christmas" is an abbreviation from the Old English meaning "Christ's Mass") and potentially just as"controversial" of a religious word that "Christmas" is in a public school setting.

2. On the other side of it, my pet peeve are people in my own Christian denomination that are extremists in freaking about some secular, pagan, and symbolic parts of Christmas. One example is angels with wings and the angel tree topper with wings (no, I'm not talking about a maxi pad. Angels)

disclaimer: Not all LDS freak out about this. But there are some that do, and it makes me buggy-buggy-BUGGY!)

The problem many have with the wings is the belief that Angels don't really have wings. Who cares! The wings are symbols, people. We celebrate
with many symbols at Christmas that these same people don't get their panties in a wad about (the wreath, the cane, etc etc). Why can't the wings be symbols too? Well, they are for me, and my husband and LOVE our angel tree topper complete with wings. This is also especially difficult for me, because my father was anti-angels-on-trees-because-of-their-evil-wings. It's one thing to just not like it, but it's another to take the problem and be hurtful to others. I made a beautiful angel tree topper when I was about 9 or 10 at a 4-H activity and he threw it out. Yeah, real Christ-like, Dad.

Sorry. Shouldn't have gone there.

2a - On that same note, those that freak about the pagan background of the Christmas Tree. So what! Germans brought the trees to America in the early 20
th century and decorated with their symbols of Christ with Christmas to replace the pagan part. Therefore, what is the harm of having a tree? Go with it, people. It's not going to kill you or send you to hell. We're not worshipping the tree. We're using it as a symbol to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ.

2b - Those that freak about Santa taking away from the true meaning of Christmas. Um, what does Santa do? Gives of HIMSELF (selflessness) to all the little boys and girls. GIVING and Selflessness. Sounds like a good thing to celebrate at Christmas to me! The
wisemen GAVE gifts to baby Jesus. Therefore, the Santa part sounds like to me that is was inspired by that! And St. Nicholas was a real person who GAVE to others. In my opinion (and it's my blog, so I'm giving it freely!), Santa is perfectly alright to have as a part of Christmas as long as it is balanced with the root, which is Christ's birth. Yes, Santa has been abducted by commercialism, but we can choose whether or not we "buy" into all of that or not. We can commemorate the birth of Christ and have Santa without getting caught up in all the commercialism.

2c - And on that note, even though many believe (myself included) that Christ wasn't born on December 25
th, or for that matter, in the winter at all, it's perfectly okay to "observe" it now. I was born in the month that we believe Jesus was born in, and I wouldn't mind celebrating my birthday now too. Really, it's okay. We're not celebrating Christmas when the birth happened, but BECAUSE it happened. That's more important! And I for one am glad we celebrate Christmas in December. It wouldn't mean the same in April, and it certainly would be too warm for hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Ending with a little humor. This is one of my favorite "
irreverent" Christmas, um, "symbols". The redneck Christmas decoration:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas and ADD

Tis' the season for my ADD being on high! This isn't exactly the best time to be updating my blog, but hence, I want to show off this picture! Look at my cuties from earlier this week with Jolly ol' St. Nick. I love comparing Santa pics of years past and seeing how they grow! Funny - Santa is wearing the same thing, but he seems to look a little different year after year! lol