Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Anything Can Happen

I wanted to regale you with my resolutions and how it would take something of a revolution for me to stick to those I (should) make. I think instead of resolutions mine should be called "challenges to myself." I have the usual ones: exercise more and eat healthier. I have the mommy-specific ones: get the baby books up-to-date and write in the boys' journals on a regular basis. Let us just say, there are lots of things on my to-do/resolution/life's work lists! However, I am enjoying the Curious George movie with all my boys tonight, so I'll just leave you with one challenge I really want to meet this year: make pajamas for all four of us to wear next Christmas! Also, this great Shel Silverstein poem that I want to make my mantra for 2009:

Listen to the mustn'ts, child.
Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.

Here's hoping for and wishing you a happy and healthy 2009!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Questions

1. Egg nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa just fills the stockings at our house; we don't put much emphasis on Santa. In fact, when W's PT asked H if Santa was going to bring him some presents, he replied, "Well, we wrap our presents." The reason for not emphasizing Santa is twofold. One, I want my children to focus on the true reason and spirit of Christmas. Two, I want them to know that Mommy and Daddy work hard so that they can get presents. If it wasn't for the good music and books that include Santa, we probably wouldn't do it at all, but I am a sucker for Twas the Night Before Christmas. Below is the response to this question from another blogger that I got this little question list from. I love, love, love her response!

We don't do Santa at our house. We want to be sure that we are telling our kids the truth and that we are celebrating the real reason for the season. If our children are to believe in a man that they cannot see, I want it to be Jesus! However, we told our daughter that people like to "pretend" about Santa at Christmastime and she said she wants to pretend, too. Pretending is fun and that is fine with us! But the presents are from mommy and daddy. We get the credit for that!

Please no hating on me about Santa. It doesn't bother me at all that others do Santa stuff. My brother is almost a decade older than me, so I think that's partly why I was never that into Santa as a kid. Not to mention my mom is not a secret-keeper or much of a surprise-giver.

3. Colored lights or white? White. In fact, my mom gave us her old artificial tree this year (the first time I've ever had an artificial tree, terrible, I'm a real-tree girl all the way), anyway, it is pre-lit with colored lights. That will not do, so I put our white lights on it, and didn't plug in the pre-lit ones. Also, I really like putting the lights on because my dad always checked the lights. It makes me think of him. What can I say? Down with artificial trees!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, maybe when the children are older (isn't that stuff poisonous?)

5. When do you put your decorations up? Either the Friday or the weekend after Thanksgiving.

6. Favorite holiday dish? Sausage balls, macaroni and cheese "pie" (as my dad called it), deviled eggs!

7. Favorite childhood memory? Wrapping presents with my grandmother and the year my dad decided we were going to have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

8. When/how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think I just sort of figured it out (see #2 above).

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As a child, I could open one gift on Christmas Eve. Now, we open gifts with my mom on Christmas Eve. This year, I am going to let the boys open one (their matching red Thomas pajamas, so they can have them on for Christmas morning pictures!)

10. How do you decorate the tree? I am a bit of a tree hog (maybe not as bad as Kate). See #3 for the light situation. I put on the lights, then unwrap and unbox the ornaments and hang those, and I have the star we used at my dad's house. I let H help hang some of his ornaments (several John Deere/tractor ones).

11. Snow. Love it or dread it? Love it, usually.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, the last time I tried, and that was a looong time ago.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? It might be this year's, check back after Christmas :) But a favorite from the past was all of Jane Austen's completed novels in hardback!

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Being with my family, doing things that will give my children good memories, and making sure my children know the real reason for celebrating.

15. Favorite holiday dessert? My mom's Fresh Apple Cake.

16. Favorite Christmas Tradition? Going to Christmas Eve church services (haven't done that in a couple of years), watching A Charlie Brown Christmas with my boys, and before he passed away, hearing my dad say, "I hate Christmas, I hate Christmas, I. Hate. Christmas." What can I say, I'm a bit twisted.

17. What tops your tree? The gold-garlanded, color-lights star that was always on our tree at my dad's.

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving? I love giving to my kids, and who doesn't enjoy receiving?

19. Favorite Christmas song? "What Child is This"

20. Candy canes. Yum or yuck? I'll eat them, but they're not my favorite.

21. What do you want for Christmas? Can someone give the gift of sleep and/or more time?

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? No, seems a bit sad, but really, I'm probably glad.

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear P.J.'s? We usually go to my mom's, but it's not dressy (but not pj casual either, I wish it was!)

24. Do you own a Santa hat? Yes, we wore them in parades when I was in band in high school. I wear it when I'm decorating the tree.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? Christmas morning and lunch is reserved for just the four of us. Then, my mom and step-dad usually come over as well as my MIL later in the day.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Letters (Hoochee Book Club)

Chattahoochee Mama decided to start an online book club, and you know me, I always enjoy reading and discussing books. So, the first ever Hoochee Book Club pick was The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger. The story is told through a series of letters sent between an estranged husband and wife (Sam and Hadley) who are dealing with the loss of their only child (Paul).

I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read and freely admit to loving the letter format. I do believe that for some it is easier to express emotions in writing rather than verbally (I am one of those). In Hadley and Sam's situation, this is particularly true as they are wary of revealing too much of their selves, their vulnerability.

Sometimes while reading, I questioned which author was writing. Did Rice only write Hadley's letters to Sam? Some parts of Sam's letters seemed to express emotions in a way that I found hard to believe a man could write. I am not saying it's impossible; I'm familiar with Shakespeare. Still, from a letter dated November 18 "...when I came back you were there at the campsite, and the sun was behind you, and you didn't see me for a second and I watched how beautifully you moved, how you had such purpose and calm, and you had cut an enormous bouquet of black-eyed Susans and arranged them in an old coffee tin sitting on the table. You had collected the flowers for no other reason except that you appreciated beauty, just beauty, and returning to you that way, coming toward the camp, I felt out of breath at the sight of you." (Cue the Take My Breath Away song from Top Gun... watching in slow motion...). I have known men who have had thoughts like this, but I think they are probably few and far between. Hadley did mention that "Other women complain their husbands don't talk; that was never the case with Sam." So, perhaps he was just meant to be characterized as one of the few. Still, it would be interesting to know how the writing collaboration was done.

The characters were very real to me, especially Hadley (probably because I am a woman and mother). When she writes about going to the Abbey in Kentucky and feeling that a monk "who'd felt the pull of desire...would understand a young mother who adored her husband and son more than air and sunshine, yet needed to escape those bonds for a time," I was thinking, "Write it, sister, Amen!" Sam, when writing about dog sledding, really hit on a feeling that I think a lot of people have: "It is all next. It is some sort of perfidious human desire to never be where we are, but to be next, to be the next minute forward, to escape the present." I don't know about escaping the present, but I am guilty of thinking if I can just get this done, then I'll be able to relax or do more with the kids. Even Paul's character was developed enough for me to sort of picture him. I guess my point is that if a character's thoughts connect with or reiterate my own, that's a real character to me.

I did think it was cliche-ish that Hadley suddenly "got religion" when she wanted to believe her son was really alive. That sort of bothered me. In fact, the whole Hadley-falling-for-the-pilot's- widow's-story bothered me. I guess I could have done without that whole part of the book. I see that the authors wanted Hadley to have her own "trip to the truth," her moment of actualization just as Sam did in going to the crash site, but I would have been fine with Hadley going through it all via reading the letters and being in her island house and painting again.

One odd little thing I noticed (probably because it is so close to Christmas) was on the next to the last page Hadley is writing to Sam "when I return to Anchorage tomorrow morning. Abbot Fredric said there is a predawn ferry, for the residents who work in town, and I will be on it." Then, at the end of this same letter (and the end of the book) she ends with "It's Christmas Eve." So, I must ask does the ferry run on Christmas? Maybe it does, some places are open on Christmas, right? Are there Blockbusters in Alaska?

So, those are my thoughts on The Letters. I thought it was a perfect book choice for this time of year with the book's last letter being written on Christmas Eve and its look at the bonds of family and their strength, especially enduring a loss. I am looking forward to finding out what will be next for the Hoochee Book Club (and, PS, don't you love the book club name?).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bandanna Fun

I just wanted to post links to two neat projects for bandannas. I found turquoise, lime green, and black bandannas at Target this past summer, and I know WalMart has had red and navy blue ones in the past.

For the girls: V and Co. has a great bandanna skirt tutorial with helpful pictures!

For the boys and the girls: Blue Yonder has a cute bandanna shorts tutorial also with instructive pictures for those of us who really need it :)

I've been a shopping, reading fool this week (I'll try to explain the reading in a later post).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Cards Have Been Sent

One thing down (Christmas cards mailed), what seems like a zillion to go... I am still here just trying to finish Christmas shopping. I don't think it's going to happen. Poor C may only get one gift this year. I don't have any great ideas for him, and it's really hard to get out to shop even though my poor mom has been coming over every afternoon to help. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and concern for W. He is doing well, although it seems that we all have a cold and of course, I am worried about infection in him as he just had surgery. We are going to be praying and hoping REALLY hard for a very healthy new year.

Back to the gifts, though, I have no ideas. We had planned to order family pictures, and I was hoping to give my mom one as part of her gift. We missed our appointment with the photographer due to our stay in the hospital! I feel so bad. How can I not have good ideas for people I see every day?!? My dad was so good about thinking of gift ideas or picking up on small things folks mentioned they'd like to have. Apparently, I didn't get that gene! I am very excited about the boys' gifts though and love seeing the packages arrive from good ole I like to "try out" some of the little ones' toys, just to be sure they're safe and all :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seven Things About Me

Finally, I do the meme. Anastasia tagged me, so here goes.

1) I love Scooby-Doo, L.O.V.E. it. I detest Scrappy-Doo, he signaled the beginning of the end for this beloved cartoon. I've been known to say to C, "Shaggy, you know I can't see without my glasses, Shaggy!" I also share some of Daphne's downfalls (ever heard her referred to as Danger-Prone Daphne?)

2) I have never watched an episode of Lost or Grey's Anatomy, and I've only seen one episode of The Office.

3) Until 2006, I had never tasted taco salad or chicken salad. Now, they are two of my favorite things to eat (C's taco salad is the best, I think taco salad made at home is way better than a restaurant's).

4) I learned to whistle at the ripe old age of twenty-one (yes, really).

5) When driving in terrible traffic, I like to listen to Eminem. Um, let's just say I have a bit of road rage.

6) I know the Japanese words for right, left, straight ahead, and be careful. I use them pretty often.

7) My husband's first Christmas gift to me was a motorcycle helmet (he wasn't my husband then). Does that make me seem a little more adventurous or bad a#$? I feel kind of boring.

Oh well, I know I am not the most adventurous gal. Also, I wanted to try to pick seven things Mel didn't know! I'm not going to tag anyone, mostly because I don't think I know seven more bloggers well enough to tag =)