Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12 Days of Christmas...Revisited

I promise, this one is not another wishlist as the previous "12 Days" entry.  This is, however, one of those "Things my kids do" entries...be forewarned.  There's also the possibility of this entry falling into the Too Much Information (TMI) category.  Again.  Be forewarned.

This morning, I did what I always do - I made my move to jump in the shower.  This move is always preceded with instructions for the monkey children to have eaten breakfast and to be dressed by the time I get out.  (otherwise they tend to become lazy sloths all day...have to keep them on their toes!)  But once I close that bathroom door, it becomes my little haven for that short amount of time.  No children, no bickering, no shouts of "Mom!..."

Until one little monkey barges in and interrupts my alone time...And that is exactly what one little monkey did to me this morning.

He's 5 years old...it's a one bathroom house...it's bound to happen occasionally, and it happened this morning.  "Just have to poop mom!"  {sigh} Okay lil' dude, do what you need to.  And as I washed, and conditioned, and lathered, and rinsed....he sat there, and sat there, and sat there...until before long, I heard his little voice...

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me - a partridge in a pear tree!!"

I smirked to myself.  How cute!  He proceeded on to day two, struggled for a second to remember what his true love had given to him, but still managed to get it out.

(On a side note - In Kindergarten, the "12 Days" are a very big deal to learn and memorize.  I knew I needed to encourage this little potty concert that I was getting.)

Day 3's gift was also a little slow in coming out, so I knew that by the time Day 4 arrived, he would need a little help....

And so began our own little "12 Days" performance....Lil' dude and I singing a duet from Day 4, the princess who came running in time for Day 5, joined us in the hallway singing outside the bathroom door, and by the time Day 6 came around, D-man was inserting from the family room his own "ba-dum-dum-dum" after each round of 5 golden rings (you know, from the Muppet's rendition of the song).  And yes...we did go all the way through all 12 days like that.  Me in the shower, my lil' dude on the toilet, and the other two in the hallway and from the other side of the house.

And that was my smile for the day.

A continued Merry Christmas to you my fellow blog readers - and if you feel like breaking out into your favorite Christmas carol, by all means - feel free to join our bathroom chorus....but from your own commode please.



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sleep in Heavenly Peace...

Just so you all know that it really did get finished, wrapped, and opened by a special little princess on Christmas morning.... The bed that was created, the bedding that was sown, and what I have more or less obsessed over since Thanksgiving when the whole process started.




Monday, December 26, 2011

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come


My future Christmas...next year...many years from now even....I would want every Christmas to be similar in that it would be spent with those I love.  Finding my kids incredibly happy to come home to spend time with their mom, and not dreading having to make the trip from wherever their lives have taken them.

Looking forward to seeing their cars pull into the driveway...future grandchildren even (lord help me, that's a long ways away!) jumping out of the car and practically tripping over one another to be the first one up to the door.  

Trays of chocolate mint cookies, buckeyes, and thin& crispy oatmeal cookies greeting them...appetites being spoiled...and yet, satisfied with food that only mom knows how to make this special time of year.

Yes, I have dreams of what Christmas will be like in the future.  But I think I'll be content in knowing my children are all happy right here and right now.  That even though lil' D is currently miserable with a cold, he's still racing from one new Christmas treasure to another.  That D-man is so happy to have constructed a brand new Lego invention, that he has recently announced "I am better than Ben Franklin!"  And that the princess can't stop looking in the mirror and admiring her newly pierced ears that were part of her Christmas gift.  They're happy.  They're playing together.  They actually LIKE one another. (Quick! Someone capture this moment for posterity!)

Merry Christmas ... and God bless us, everyone!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The 12 Days of a Genealogist's Christmas!!

Yeah, you know you're excited for this one!!  Everybody sing!!

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

12 antique photos

11 genealogy field trips (Ohio, DC, Massachusetts...I'm not picky!)

10 cemetery transcriptions

9 obituaries - pronounced "OH-bit-chew-aries" for the sake of the song.

8 property owner maps (that are readable!)

7 Civil War pension files

6 marriage records

5 "brick walls" torn down!!

4 newly found cousins

3 family bibles

2 census records (1900, my great-grandfather and his sister would be great!)

and a copy of "Professional Genealogy" !!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ghost of Christmas Present


Today's visit with the ghost of Christmas present finds me busying myself in my kitchen.  Appropriate, I suppose, considering Dickens' version of this particular ghost enjoyed his food and drink.

This afternoon and now into the evening, I've been baking....baking....and still more baking.  And making dinner.  I was baking last week too, even managed to make every variety of cookie that I had planned to.  That's not to say they turned out well...edible?  Yes.  Pretty to look at?  Eh...not so much.

Since last week, I was alerted to a yummy new cookie recipe, and I had M&M's apparently reproducing in my refrigerator (2 bags full!)  So today was all about the new cookies, as well as a retake of last week's M&M fiasco.  Looking at the clock, I've been at this for about 4 hours, and cookie round #2 is a success!  

But this post isn't about my lack of decent baking skills.  It's about Christmas.  Christmas Present.  Christmas right here and right now.  Because that is what Dickens' ghost represented - he existed on Earth only for a single year's Christmas holiday, as the nature of the present is to only exist in the now.

Christmas here and now for me is yes, baking cookies - a lot of cookies actually. But it is also about playing lil' D's new favorite Christmas song on the radio and watching his excitement as comes racing into the room with expectation on his face. I grab his arms and we do a little jitterbug to the "Shooby-Doo-Wah's" that were being played - a fun little song that sends him into a fit of giggles. A fun little song that is also a part of a medley. Part 2 of this medley is aneurysm inducing, must...begin.... head-banging....Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The princess and I got our pony-tails flippin', lil' D got his air guitar rockin', and we turned the music up loud.

Hope you enjoy this little holiday selection as much as the three of us did tonight!
Whoville Medley by Trans Siberian Orchestra on Grooveshark


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Past


Christmas is usually a time of happiness, cheer, joyful and triumphant, and so on and so forth.  Usually.  One Christmas...12 years ago...not so happy.  Not so cheerful.  There was no joy.  Bear with me.  This is a memory that I have every year...I have no idea why I feel the need to share it.  Maybe to make myself a little more "human" in the eyes of my loyal readers.  Three days before Christmas, it is not the stereotypical feel good blog post that you would expect to read.  Then again, I'm not always very stereotypical either.    


This little angel sits atop of my little Christmas tree.  Every year she is the first ornament I take out.  She will also be the final ornament to be put away.  She has two neighboring crystal angel "sisters" that hang next to her.  But she has the priviledge of being the first and the last.

I purchased her to hang on the tree in 1998.  It was something that I needed to do that year.  I needed the perfect angel to hang on my tree to remember the perfect baby that I had just lost in November.  Not that I could ever forget.  More of a memorial I guess.

Each year, I cradle the little box in my hand.  Knowing she's inside.  Anxious to see her, hold her...just...remember.  Only for a moment.  Then she takes her place at the top of the tree - her place of honor, if you will.

That first year she was in our house, was not such a loving moment.  I distinctly remember that Christmas past.  A memory I'm not proud of.  But always a memory, every Christmas, that creeps back in.  I was home alone, putting up and decorating our Christmas tree.  (some things never change!)  The tree was up in the corner.  The lights were strung, and it was time for that first ornament.  I got out the step-ladder to reach the top of the tall tree that we had at the time and reached up to gently...carefully...place her near the top.

She hung there beautifully.  My angel.  And then the emotions just hit me....hard.  They say that there are stages of grief.  Safe to say, at that moment - I hit the anger stage in my grief.

I didn't want to have a memorial angel ornament, I wanted to feel my baby growing inside of me.  This wasn't fair!!  I reached over, grabbed ahold of that center stem inside our tree and I pushed...hard.   I think if I could've flung the 7 ft tree across the room I honestly would have.  Instead I just pushed.  And it toppled over, lights and all.   I think there may have been a scream that escaped from my throat as well.

I stood there on my little step-stool and I cried.  I'm sure had anyone seen what had just transpired, they would've thought me a bit nuts.  But just as quickly as the rage had hit me...it passed.  I took a deep breath, and got to work getting this tree back up in the corner.  Hung all of the ornaments, and took a step back to admire my work.

**************************
This year, my little princess was very much in "helping mode" when I was decorating our little tree, wanting to help with lights and yes, the ornaments.   I opened the ornament box, and there she was...right on top, ready for her place of honor.  My angel.

No princess.  Mommy gets to hang this one first.

"Why?"

Because it's very special to mommy and I always hang this angel on the tree first.

"Why is it so special?"

Someday mommy will tell you that story, princess.  Someday.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Season of Miracles...

This Christmas season I have learned the joy of using power tools - a table saw, a circular saw, a cordless drill, and a nail gun.  The nail gun was probably my favorite.  I have sanded and I have painted - not a new skill by any means, but this time the project was...personal.  I have also sewn Christmas lights onto neckties, and polka-dotted glittery ribbon onto a dress, pants cuffs, and a fedora.  For the record, I prefer power tools over a needle and thread.  I did manage a round with a sewing machine.  A very quick round, as my accident-prone self just kept seeing a disastrous accident happening with fingers and that needle bobbing up and down.  And of course, when it's usefulness was ended, I had to wield the seam ripper to remove the Christmas lights and polka-dotted glittery ribbon from the aforementioned items. 


Can I be honest?  That was the scariest part for me.  Out of all things, that little tiny tool scares the snot out of me.  It has drawn blood out of my hand before and I still have a 1 inch scar as a reminder of that one time when all rational intelligence left me.  Okay, so it's happened more than once since there was also that one time with the pair of scissors...oddly enough, now that I think on those two occurrences, I realize that I was attempting the same task...two different tools, and neither what they were made for.  Thankfully, this time around, and using it appropriately...there was no loss of blood.


Another new skill...a very "girly" new skill - I now know how to actually curl my daughter's hair with a curling iron, which I've never done before for her own safety as well as mine (and we both have lived to tell about it!)  I don't curl my own hair for fear of burning my own head...face...fingers...why in heaven's name would I put my daughter in that line-up?  Simply because the occasion called for her hair to be curled, and I figured I was having a good run, may as well try my luck with a blistering hot metal rod.  It worked, she was beautiful, score another point for me!


Yeah, I'm having a total June Cleaver (of course Christmas cookies have been baked too!), Martha Stewart kind-of a month.  No yelps of pain, no blood drawn, no trips to the ER, and all 10 fingers still attached.  This has definately been the season of Christmas miracles!!



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ouch

Sore muscles.

I shouldn't complain.  I know there are other people in this world who hurt much more than I do right now for much more serious reasons.  But since it is my blog, and since my muscles are screaming at me right now...I'm going to whine a little bit.

Funny thing is, I'm so busy during this time of year, it's hard telling where the soreness comes from.  I have an idea.  A pretty good idea actually.  But at the time, I really didn't think I'd be hobbling around like an old lady later in the day.  There was certainly no pain involved in the activity at the time.  Just like there is no pain involved in just sitting here right now in my chair typing.

But when I get up to walk away from my computer, I'm going to groan.  And I may moan a little too.  The moaning and the groaning usually go together.  And the hobbling.  And the falling into the closest chair just so I won't hurt anymore for at least a little while.  And then Ill probably just laugh to myself for being so silly and pathetic.

Like I tell my monkey children, just gotta "suck it up and move on cupcake"

{ouch}

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blue Christmas


Just for the record...IF the man you share your living space with has an obsession with blue Christmas lights, do NOT attempt add to his lighting collection without his prior approval.

Mr. D, has such an obsession.  A few weeks ago when we had an incredibly warm weekend, I was able to "encourage" him to get up on the ladder and hang his freaky blue lights outside on the house instead of waiting and having to do it in the dark and cold weather elements.

His blue lights are the ONLY decoration he has any control over.  He didn't like being pushed, but he listened to reason and got them hung up outside.   In the meantime I began decorating EVERYTHING else inside the house, including this 3 foot tree that sits in our front window.

It's really not as bad as a "Charlie Brown Tree", but it's just a tiny little thing that I like to put in the front window so that there is some sign of holiday festiveness shining through.

You know...besides the blue lights hanging on the house.

Unfortunately, my little tree lights did not last, and half the strand was out the next day.  True, I could've wiggled something here or there and gotten them to come back on.  But considering it was only day #2 of my little tree's Christmas season and it was already fighting to stay lit, I opted to look into new lights.  This led me to looking into possibly adding those fantastically bright LED lights to his outside light collection, and I happened to find a strand that changes from white to blue to white to blue to white to blue...you get the idea.  Oh yes, and a new white LED set for my little tree too!

For those who don't know...LED lights are brighter and more vivid than regular old Christmas lights.  I knew this going into my purchase.  I was so excited to brighten up the halls and deck my boughs with...electricity!

I undecorated my little tree, REdecorated the little tree with new lights and then worked for about an hour and a half wrangling the new blue/white strand up onto the picture window before I was finally able to plug them in.

HOLY VEGAS BATMAN!!

yeah.  It was a little bright.  And flashy.  Definately lots of flashy brightness happening in our living room.

...and Mr. D. was not impressed with the new bright & flashy look due to the fact that "the blues didn't match."  Really?  That's why?  Not the strobe effect?  Not the blinding angelic white light?  But because the shade of blue doesn't match the already existing, already hanging lights.

Yes, I undecorated my little tree....again.  Ripped the lights down off the window.  And then I ventured out to my local mass distribution "Stuff-Mart" to return and exchange for normal lights.  

And yes...I redecorated my little tree...for the 3rd time. 

I quit.  Not touching another strand of blue lights again...ever.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Young love...

Young Joseph.

An even younger Mary.

I wonder what it was like for them...were they in madly in love with one another?  Was their betrothal arranged or was it longed for?  Did they sneak away just to catch a few moments with one another??

"when Joseph looks at me it's like drowning sometimes, almost too lovely to bear.  And his touch, even his hand on mine!  I dare not even imagine what the rest of it will be like...A thrill of longing pierced her as she thought of the impending hours, months of waiting.  Waiting for the beloved to come unto her.  Yet surely there was reason in postponement; surely it would only enhance the time when they could truly be one.


She smiled....The Lord will give us both strength."


I don't think they could hardly stand for this time of waiting to be over.  I think they would sneak looks at each other in the synagogue - her from upstairs, gazing down on the man she dreamed of being with.  He would catch her eye as they would exit each Sabbath.  Each look possibly making the other blush just a little.  They were legally man and wife, but not yet united as one.  Perhaps Mary would try to talk her father into not postponing the wedding for too long.  Then again, maybe her mother would insist on holding onto her in their home for as long as possible.

They had no idea what they were about to face....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Memories - Ornaments


Christmas - 1981.  In my 9 year old mind, the greatest Christmas ever.  Under our Christmas tree that year was a Miss Piggy hand puppet (complete with purple satin gown and gloves),  and on our Christmas tree was an ornament I would treasure for years until her little felt wing would one year turn up broken.  She has since been retired to "the box"...my collection of old ornaments that I just can't bring myself to get rid of.  I suppose I could probably ebay some of them (not the Piggy of course), but all of those other Hallmark collector ornaments...every "grand-daughter" ornament my grandmother gave me year after year after year.  It's not as if they've made it onto the tree any time recently.  It's not as if I foresee them making a comeback.  And Grandma passed 11 years ago, so I don't think her feelings would be hurt either.  I don't say that to be heart-less...just realistic.

But no - these ornaments will remain packed away for now.  Because I do still treasure each one of them.  And maybe one year, when the princess is older and she realizes the number or ornaments she has on the tree herself - then I can pull out my treasure box and show her each one of mine.  Show her that the tradition of grandma's gifting ornaments started years before her own grandmother.  

And then I'm sure I'll hear plenty of comments as to how OLD I am when she starts reading the dates on each one.

Hmm...maybe ebay isn't such a bad idea...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Two From Galilee - pt. 1

There is a book that I pull out every December.  "Historical Fiction" is what it is classified as.  Historical in that, yes, these people did exist.  But fiction - we just don't know much about them, so an author has taken some creative liberties in writing about their day to day lives.

Two From Galilee is the story of a young man, Joseph, and a young girl, Mary....and their lives as they were chosen and touched by God for such an important moment in time.



Unlike his father, Joseph was rather sober, albeit he had a quick smile and a radiance about the eyes very pleasant to behold.  Called forward to read the Scriptures on the Sabbath, he came on a light, quick, pounding tread that seemed to stir all the girls seated in the gallery.  Even Hannah (the mother of Mary) felt his strong masculinity throughout her whole spare yet vital being.  She did not miss the little tremor that ran through them, the unconscious leaning forward.  All but Mary who sat locked in her quiet poise, betrayed only by the half-smile on her lips, the fixed and shining look in her great eyes.


He was older than Mary by some six years.  He should have long since taken a wife.  But that he'd been waiting for her daughter Hannah knew with a helpless sense of dismay and stubborn rejection.  Many times over the years he'd come by the house on unnecessary errands - to deliver a yoke that Joachim could have picked up himself, to bring an offering of his mother's fig cakes, to mend a trough.  And he invariably lingered with Mary.  Pictures plagued her: Joseph patiently picking out nutmeats and popping them in Mary's innocent mouth.  Fourteen-year-old Joseph hoisting the basket of olives to his own shoulder as she struggled up from the common orchard behind the town.  And once when unexpected clouds had sent down an avalanche he had picked her up and carried her bodily across the swirling waters.


Hannah would never forget their laughter or the look of his streaming face as he set her down on her own doorstep.  And though Mary had been scarcely eleven then and he almost eighteen, Hannah had felt a sense of dark outrage.  


"Never let such a thing happen again," she had said severely.  "What would people think?"


"That it was pouring and the streets were such a torrent that I might have been swept away and drowned."


"Swept away indeed!"  Swept away...and away...into youth and longing and dreaming and foolishness and the mistakes that were forever waiting to overtake those who imagined themselves in love.


But she had guarded Mary well.  She had made it plain in many ways not only to Joseph himself but his parents - yes, and the soft-hearted Joachim - that a match was out of the question.  They had not had the effrontery to ask.  But until Joseph had settled on another girl and the banns were announced Hannah would not rest easy.


Mary, their Mary, was meant for a finer fate than toiling and bearing children for a poor young carpenter........