Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post of 2009

I could post this now, in time, without a pic....or I could post it late with a pic.  I win - posting it now.

How was your Christmas?  Did you get everything you wanted?  And I don't mean under the tree.  I mean for your day....for your celebration.  Did you get a cozy day with your family?  Or a big, loud fun-filled day with your friends and family?  Whatever you wished for, I hope you got to do it.

I've been really, I mean REALLY, enjoying the Christmas lull.  Meaning - I've been enjoying no schedules, no plans, no lists, no to-do's.  Just plain old relaxing.  And its been mighty cold and windy here, so cozying up at home is about all one wants to do this week.  Christmas here was wonderful.  We attended Christmas Eve service at our church.  While singing carols and squeezing into the crowded pew, I was overcome with such a warm feeling being a member of our church body.  We then enjoyed a quiet evening with Paulo's dad, brother and sister in law.  The boy was our entertainment - as he well should be.  Christmas morning we opened all our gifts - Thomas was a hoot.  He figured out that each family member's gifts had their own wrapping so he started making piles next to each of us.  He was a little overwhelmed, but then found his stride and enjoyed everything.  Christmas day my aunt, uncle, cousins and their children all came - it was our first "full" family holiday in 7 years, and it was AWESOME!!  I thought it would be crazy, being crammed into our small house, but it wasn't at all - family never does feel that way.  We had a great day and a wonderful meal - everyone pitched in a little something.  I was so glad they made the trip.

So now its New Year's Eve.  Pretty soon it will all be over, everyone will take down all their lights and decorations, the radio stations have already gone back to the regular programming, and the world will go on again, as it always does.  That makes me sad.  While I love the opportunities a new year brings about, I hate that it also marks the end of such a beautiful season. I'll let you in a little secret - I'm not going to undecorate!!  Nope.  Not even a little....not yet.....not soon......

I'm going to sign off now, cozy up on the couch with a snack, a blanket and a good movie, while I write my "2010 list".  Happy New Year to you all. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Top 10 List - Christmas Edition

This is a fun list to make because it either gets you into the spirit, or if you're already in the mood, it keeps you focused on what you want to get out of this season.

10) Christmas music.  As previously mentioned, I sometimes start listening as early as October, but definitely by Nov 1.  I just can't help myself.  I think of it as my biggest indulgence.  I love how some of the songs can bring me right back into a moment, or a place - like my childhood bedroom, or the back roads of VT during a road trip with Paulo,  or the drive between my childhood home and my aunt's house for Christmas dinner.  Does music do that for you too?

9) Christmas movies: White Christmas and Holiday Inn are not just my favorite Christmas movies, by my all time favorite movies.  Why can't life be that sweet and sappy all the time?  I just love the themes, the snow, the songs from all the Christmas movies.  And I don't care about the progress of Hollywood and technology - claymation Rudolph rules!!

8) The warm glow of  Christmas lights in the house and in the neighborhood.  I'm not a big overhead light person - I'm all about ambient lighting all year round, so the tree and the window candles really help my cause.

7) The Christmas tree - we have over 200 ornaments on our tree (I didn't count, the box of hooks was 200 count and we had more ornaments than hooks).  We have some generic balls and baubles, but so many of our  ornaments have history, stories, memories.  Like the couple of ornaments my mom made probably in the early 80's; the bridal ornaments that were a wedding gift; the granddaughter ornament from my grandparents when I was 10yrs old; the small ornament with a photo of baby me sitting with Santa hanging right next to the small ornament with a photo of baby Thomas sitting with Santa; the mickey mouse and donald duck we got as kids to celebrate our family trip to disney and now Thomas is in love with.

6) The food - need I even elaborate?!

5) The warm sentimental feeling of the season.  It seems at just this time of year people smile more, strangers look one another in the eye, and people still seem to be kinder, despite all the stress this time of year.  Or maybe its not them, but me.  Maybe I pick my own head up out my little world and take better notice.

4) Christmas cards.  As I stated in my christmas letter 2 years ago:  "Whereas Christmas cards can be a daunting task, Paulo and I are amazed by our ever-growing list - to be so blessed to have so many family and friends, old and new.  We love hearing from everyone, seeing photos of your children and families, and getting caught up on your lives...."  Aren't Christmas cards and letters such a nice change of pace from bills, catalogs and junk mail?

3) Gifts....GIVING gifts.  So there's no reason to try to say I don't like receiving gifts, cause really, who doesn't.  But I love finding that one gift - sometime gifts plural - that I just can't wait to give.  It doesn't have to be big or fancy or expensive.  Rather, I know its just right and I can't wait to see the recipient's expression when he/she opens it.

2) The real reason for the season - Jesus and His birth.  No matter how commercial this holiday becomes, or how much I indulge in all the "worldly" aspects of this season, I try to celebrate every day the real meaning of Christmas.

1) The traditions.  Why is it this time of year seems to be much more full of traditions than any other time of year?  Or do we just not call our birthday, first day of school and 4th of July activities "traditions"?  I love the old traditions that Paulo and I still carry on: like making french meat pies with my dad, decorating the house in the same ways we did as a kid, and going to the Student Prince for dinner the weekend before Christmas like I have since I was a baby.  And I'm so excited about all the new traditions we are starting together - like getting one new ornament each year for Thomas so eventually he will have them all on his tree.  And watching the christmas movies with Thomas for his first time.  And the newest tradition started as of yesterday...

We took Thomas to Edaville Railroad and it was AWESOME!!!  He is in love with trains right now so we knew it was the right time.  We got there just before dark and Thomas made a bee-line to the train. We were able to ride the big train twice - once during daylight, and once after dark to see all the Christmas lights.  Thomas also rode some of the kiddie rides.  It was freezing, but like all kids, Thomas didn't mind....heck, he didn't even seem to notice.  And despite how chilly I was, I warm and fuzzy inside watching my son have his first train ride!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm not going to be a grinch....I'm not going to be a grinch

Holiday status thus far:
- took 10 days to decorate everything
- baking still to be done
- gifts still to be bought
- wrapping not even begun
- cards still in progress
- stress starting to build. 

I'm so upset....with myself.  I know the world gets all a tizzy this time of year, and usually I'm the one "tsk tsking" them all.  But its starting to happen to me this year.  And you know what - its not the holiday, its not the list, its not the world caving in on me, its not even the fact that I'm completely freaked out about our robbery last week.  Nope - its about me.  And how I'm handling it all....or in this case, NOT handling it all.  All these ideas of "the perfect gift", the "quintessential holiday", the "best Christmas EVER" - I'm getting too caught up in it all.  Who cares that mine is not the first card everyone receives?  As long is its out by Dec 30th, that's all the matters.  Who cares if I don't have 8 kinds of cookies?  I don't bake all year long, so 1 kind of cookie is a big deal around here.  Who cares if I don't have perfect wrapped gifts?  I'm the only one who seems to care about that!!  Me Me ME!!! 

That's it!!!  I'm making this about ME!  And its NOT supposed to be about me.  It should be the tings that matter most to me AND Paulo.  Which are: time with family, favorite traditions, giving gifts with thought, and memorable moments.  Like decorating the tree with Paulo, and listening to Thomas sing the sweet song from Polar express, and this moment - when Thomas handed Daddy his blanket and said "I climb up on Daddy" and he did.  And my "heart grew 3 sizes that day" - just like the grinch.  Hmmmm....maybe I can turn it around just in time this season. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A list you don't ever want to make

If you ever have to list all your jewelry, let it be for the rider you're adding to your insurance policy....or to count how you've been blessed materially....or for your will and how you will split it all up between your children and grandchildren.

DON'T let it be because you're house was broken into and everything on the list was taken.

Like the list I'm creating right now.

Because our home was broken into this week and they took the whole jewelry box.  No, not everything in the box.  THE...WHOLE...BOX...AND...everything in it.

It sucks, but THANK YOU DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER that we are all safe.  We weren't home.  And all they got was jewelry.  Not the things that really matter. 

Its been a tough week.  I'm going to keep hugging and kissing my boys for quote a while until I feel safe again.  I hope that is soon.  Really soon.